Researchers are using tracking devices to gather information about where basking sharks can be found.

Informing basking shark conservation efforts

A Basking Shark tagging project is informing efforts to help UK basking shark populations recover after they became ‘endangered’ due to historical population declines resulting from basking shark fishing.

Exeter researchers, working with Scottish Natural Heritage and the Marine Conservation Society, are using a range of tracking devices to gather more information about the areas of sea the sharks feed in and where they migrate to and from.

In Scotland the tagging results will help the Scottish Government decide whether a Marine Protected Area should be put in place to safeguard the sharks and help balance environmental interests with industry and recreation. A project in Cornwall hopes to help understand how conservation can best help UK populations recover.

Dr Matthew Witt, who is leading the research, said: “Having a better understanding of basking sharks will help enormously in our efforts to conserve these large and magnificent creatures.”