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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 16:59 GMT
Basking sharks get 'sat-tagged'
Basking Shark (The Wildlife Trust)
The sharks are commonly seen between May and September
Wildlife conservationists are setting up a new project to track the movements of basking sharks who swim in the waters off the Isle of Man.

The Basking Shark Watch charity and the Manx Wildlife Trust are tagging 10 of the creatures so that they can be tracked by satellite.

They want to know more about the behaviour and movement of the sharks which visit the island each summer.

The satellite tags cost 3,000 each and are attached to the shark's dorsal fin.

The information will also be fed into the joint nature conservation committee and European basking shark schemes.

The project is supported by sponsorship from a variety of private and corporate sources, including The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Second biggest

Most of the basking sharks reported in the waters around the Isle of Man have been spotted off the south coast, around Port Erin, Port St Mary, the Calf and Spanish Head.

The sharks, which are the second biggest fish in the world, are harmless and feed off plankton.

They are most commonly seen off the British Isles between May and September.

The number of sightings has shot up over the last few years and experts believe climate change is a factor, with the sharks following plankton from warmer seas.

Anyone who sees a shark off the island's coast over the next few months is asked to report the sighting to the Manx Wildlife Trust.


SEE ALSO
More sharks in Scotland's waters
16 Sep 05 |  Scotland
'UK seas are in crisis' says WWF
18 Jan 05 |  Science/Nature
Basking shark survey sails again
30 Mar 04 |  Science/Nature

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