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250 Basking Sharks sighted in 2014. Hebrides still the world’s best basking shark hotspot!

See below for our recent press release for Scottish basking shark sightings records. The numbers include the submissions from the public via out sightings page and what we have observed on our own trips.

250 Basking Sharks sighted in 2014. Hebrides still the world’s best basking shark hotspot!

2014 was an interesting year for basking sharks in Scottish waters, with many places round the UK recording their worst sightings numbers in many years. However with 250 individuals sharks being recorded on our database, it demonstrates that the Hebrides still tops the best place in the world for basking sharks.
The 250 shark sightings are a mixture of public submissions and our own discoveries. These sightings ranged from Caithness to Dumfries & Galloway, but the highest concentration of sightings were recorded in the Hebrides. The largest number spotted in one shoal on one day was over 30 individuals and occurred during a large summer plankton bloom. Although our public sightings submissions had dropped by a third in 2014, our own sightings have increased by 23% from the previous year (2013).
Owner Shane Wasik says, ’Although 2014 wasn’t a classic year for shark sightings, it just goes to show we still have a world class wildlife event in our own waters. We would encourage the public to get involved with spotting the sharks as the more people that can record them from different areas, the better the data is for the scientists studying their movements’.
During our summertime expeditions, our marine biologist staff collect a large amount of data on the sharks, which include what sex they are, individual numbers, length, location, bodily features for future identification and any specific behavior such as breaching. The sharks are the largest in the world to breach clean of the surface and theories to why they do this include being either a mating display or to remove the parasites which attach to their bodies.
Following our report in 2013 of the discovery of shark which has been fouled by marine debris, named ‘sore nose’, we found this shark again in 2014. We are pleased to report the debris was missing and the the injury caused by the debris had healed.  Although great news for the shark’s well being, the shark was seen 5miles and 10 days from where we last saw him.This can assist in supporting the idea that the sharks are using the same areas every year and ensure that adequate measures are in place to ensure their protection when visiting our waters.
  • 250 Sharks Submitted to Database in 2014
  • 23% increase in own sightings
  • 33% drop in public sightings
  • ‘Sore Nose’ re-sighted and confirmed to be healthy
[caption id="attachment_3035" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Basking, Shark, Marine, Debris, Plastic, Sore Nose with Marine Debris Fouling 'nose' 2013[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3034" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Basking, shark, nose, fouling, marine, debris Sore Nose in 2014, scarring evident behind eye.[/caption]

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