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Sharks Hit West Coast

Thursday, 23 May 2013 19:46
Three Basking sharks on the West coast
Three Basking sharks on the West coast
(c) E. Johnston

May 2013:

The west coast of Ireland has experienced an influx of basking sharks on a scale not seen since 2010. Large surface aggregations of sharks have been reported off Tory island, Co. Donegal, Blacksod, Co. Mayo and off Streeda Point, Co Sligo. With over 20 animals on the surface at one time the residents and visitors to Sligo’s beautiful coastline have been offered a rare visual treat in recent days. It has been obvious from the excitement in peoples sighting reports that experiencing one of Ireland’s most iconic marine species remains one of these islands most magnificent wildlife encounters.

It is fascinating how each year tells a new chapter in the story of how basking sharks use our rugged coastline to locate and gorge on aggregations of their food, Zooplankton. Our regional research teams responded rapidly to the influx of sharks and spent much of the past week on the water investigating the causes of this annual influx.

We have a number of new initiatives being launched in 2013 which will help raise the profile of the species and also further our knowledge on the importance of Irish waters to the lifecycle of the sharks.

A big thanks to all those who have reported sightings, and please if you have old or new sightings don’t forget to report them via the IWDG link on the website.