• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Shark Camp 2013

Tagged Basking Shark off Malin Head
Tagged Basking Shark off Malin Head
(c) E. Johnston 2012

Project Title: Shark Camp; Empowering local communities to manage sharks sustainably


The ‘Shark Camp’ project aims to instil the knowledge and skills necessary for the sustainable management of sharks as a natural resource within Malin head and Glengad coastal environs.


The Inishowen tourism industry is at a critical stage in its development. The sector needs champion projects to raise its profile and show what the peninsula has to offer. The basking shark project on Inishowen has significantly raised the profile of the area as well as delivering scientific research of international significance. A good working relationship has been formed between a number of different stakeholders with separate goals; local communities, Inishowen Development Partnership, Queens University Belfast and the Irish Basking Shark Study Group. Over the past 5 years we have laid the foundations for a large scale marine based project based located around Malin head. Since the successful completion of the Depth Charge project in 2011 and the Monster Munch project in 2012 we found that further engagement by the local community is needed to take the project onto the next step. We feel the local community should be encouraged to take ownership of the species and view the sharks as a sustainable tourism resource. A targeted project which encourages the community to engage with the species on many levels can be the catalyst for local ownership developing.

The fishing/ coastal communities have much to offer Inishowen tourism and the basking shark is an ideal medium through which their knowledge and enthusiasm for their own local environs can be utilised.


Our previous projects highlighted the integral link between local fishing productivity and shark presence. Building on that foundation of association we intend to demonstrate the added-value sharks can bring to local communities not just as a tourist draw but also as bio-indicators for the dynamic change and wellbeing of the local oceanic environment that is their livelihood.

In 2013 the group’s will develop the prototype for an annual marine ecology tutoring programme or ’Shark Camp’. The summer camp of two weeks duration will equip 10 members of the Malin head and Glengad youth community with the required skills to disseminate marine biological and shark ecology knowledge at the level necessary for community assimilation. The participants will undertake a range of field and lab based experiments highlighting the link between shark presence, local oceanic productivity and fishing success. The final output will be the production of a series of audio visual ‘messages’ for the community providing a fresh look at the management of local marine resources and the valuable part sharks can play in that process.



The objective of the ‘Shark Camp’ is to instil the necessary basic kills and knowledge within the targeted local communities in order for them to initiate, develop and adapt to the newly legislated eco-system approach for the sustainable management of their own local marine resources.

Assisting people to understand the dynamic relationship between commercial fishing, fisheries research and indicated oceanic change is a vital stepping stone in the empowerment of local coastal communities to manage resources in an integrated and sustainable manor of their choosing.  



The project will produce a community focused message, conveying the importance of local marine environs being sustainably managed by those who depend on them for their livelihoods and also highlight the appropriate methods to do so.

This project will benefit the conservation status of locally prevalent shark species, current fishing practices (commercial and leisure), the local tourism industry and our ongoing biological research programme.


Key elements of the taught programme:


  • Basic marine ecology
  • Shark Biology and ecology
  • Oceanography
  • Sustainable fisheries and marine conservation
  • Safety at sea
  • Planning and undertaking a research study
  • Disseminating and interpreting information
  • Video creation, editing and production
  • Working in a team and building confidence in self/community led initiatives

Further details are available from the project coordinator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

click here to download the application form now 

or you can get the application form via email from the Shark Camp facilitator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Closing Date for Applications is the 30thof June.



Participation is free for successful applicants.

The Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group have secured 75% funding from the Inishowen Development Partnership and have match funded the remaining 25% of the project with personal donations and local fundraising.


Inishowen Basking Shark Study Group

Is a locally based initiative which Aims

To promote the conservation and scientific study of basking sharks in Inishowen and Irish waters by ensuring their protection, increasing awareness and improving our understanding of their ecology and habitat requirements

We have members who are Marine biologists, Fishermen, Community leaders, Wildlife enthusiasts, Lifeboat crew, Leisure boat owners and interested members of community.


Project Team

Project Coordinator: Emmett Johnston

Emmett has over 12 year’s professional experience in ecological conservation. He has coordinated internationally significant shark research in Inishowen waters since 2008.

Emmett has assisted and guided numerous high profile television and radio documentary teams on the North coast of Donegal. He is also a volunteer crew member with Lough Swilly RNLI.

 Educational Delivery: Rosemary McCloskey

Rosemary holds a Degree in oceanography, Southampton University and is current Masters student of fisheries science at Swansea University. Rosemary brings subject specific educational experience and as a native of Buncrana, local community knowledge. She previously volunteered as a field assistant with the project in 2010 and 2011 and ran the Monster Munch project in 2012. She is also a RNLI sea safety advisor.

Website development: Matt Johnston

Matt brings substantial experience in the design and maintenance of web based databases and satellite tracking portals. Current conservation centred sites include www.goldeneagle.ie, www.iwdg.ieand www.baskingshark.ie

Scientific Research Oversee: Dr Jonathan Houghton

Dr Houghton is Lecturer of Marine Biology at Queen University Belfast, and has over 15 years experience leading marine mega-fauna telemetry research including the satellite tracking of Irish leatherback Turtles, Sun Fish ( mola mola) and Jellyfish.


For more information on our previous projects see the free downloads in the About us section of the website.