Ocean News

Tagging Tina, Basking Shark ID, Life with Great Whites

15th December 2010

There’s been some exciting news from the Cayman Shark Study project – last week, project leader Mauvis Gore and the rest of the team attached a SPOT satellite tag to a 3.5m long Tiger shark, which they’ve nicknamed Tina. What makes this tagging so interesting is that, unlike regular satellite tags, which send their GPS data months after being attached, the SPOT tag Tina is sporting transmits its location every time its aerial is above the surface. This gives researchers a near real-time view of where the shark is spending time, providing insights into its feeding habits – the Cayman researchers suspect that Tina is spending time in shallower waters in search of prey such as turtles and manta rays. See the full post for more details!

Meanwhile, our Chief Scientist Rupert Ormond, who heads up the Basking Sharks project, is working on the launch of the European Basking Shark Photo-ID database. Though only a fraction of Basking Shark individuals can be identified by the shape of their fin and distinctive marks on it, Rupert cites improvements in the quality of photos produced by modern SLRs as a factor which will now facilitate the positive photo identification of about one in three of these sharks. Rupert and his team have used photo identification to support observations in the field which suggest that more Basking Sharks have been present around the central Inner Hebrides this summer than for many previous years. The full post has more details.

Last but not least, a post on the White Sharks (South Africa) blog discusses the City of Cape Town’s recent implementation of conservation-aware White Shark and Recreational Safety Policy and Strategy. The new policy "aims to find a balance between white-shark conservation and recreational safety, by identifying mitigation measures that ensure increased water safety in appropriate areas, while leaving our unique marine ecosystem intact."