Page last updated at 00:53 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Government seeking sharks project officer

Basking shark. Pic: Colin Speedie/Swiss Shark Foundation/PA
Great protection is being sought for sharks in Scottish waters

Efforts to protect sharks in Scottish waters are to be stepped up with the planned appointment of a government sharks project officer.

The temporary post with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) involves raising awareness about shark, skate and ray species and tagging the fish.

The officer would work closely with the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN).

The network has been urging government to give greater protection to sharks.

It held a "tagathon" last week on lochs Sunart and Etive in the north-west Highlands.

Fitting tags on the fish - spur dogs and common skate were species targeted in the recent SSACN event - is used to help monitoring the health of stocks.

The Oban-based project officer would assist the SSACN in setting up a new tagging programme.

Through the new role, SHN hopes to hold a Great Egg Case Hunt event in Argyll next year. The cases are laid by breeding fish.

Also, help would be sought from commercial fishermen in identifying skates and rays and details on where egg cases have been dredged or trawled.

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