September 19, 2010 Featured Article Read More →

CEFAS tagging programme

CEFAS is planning a porbeagle and spurdog tagging programme and is asking fishermen to help – and offering a reward for those who do.

Porbeagle sharks and spurdog populations are vulnerable to fisheries because they grow more slowly. reach maturity later and have fewer young than other fish species, stocks of both species are now classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Consequently, DEFRA has commissioned a study, running until 2012, to develop a better understanding of the issues and help policymakers determine management measures that will help these species recover.

The coordinator of the study, David Righton, said that “This is an exciting collaborative study where CEFAS will be working with the commercial and recreational fishing sectors and conservationists.

"The work with tags will enable us to gain great new insights into seasonal movement patterns and behaviour and, in turn, will help us to identify realistic sustainable conservation measures for both porbeagle and spurdog populations around the UK."

Over the next few months scientists from Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) will run a collaborative tagging effort, in the Celtic, Irish and North Seas aiming to tag over 20 porbeagles and 100 spurdogs with electronic and marker tags.

Three types of tag

Satellite tags will be attached close to the dorsal fin of adult porbeagles; these will detach from the shark after a pre-determined period (between three to 15 months) and float to the surface to transmit detailed information about the sharks behaviour, thus removing the need to physically recover the tag.

Smaller buoyant data storage tags are to be attached by the dorsal fin of adult spurdogs and will record and store temperature and depth data. These tags will need to be physically recovered to retrieve the archived information.

CEFAS is offering a €100 reward (about £80) for any electronic tag found and returned together with entry into their annual UK £1000 electronic tag lottery draw and shark T-shirt.


To further supplement the study, a number of external ID tags, attached in a similar manner to those used in our SSTP tagging programme, will also be deployed on porbeagle and spurdogs.

Inevitably the success of any tagging project relics heavily on the co-operation of commercial and recreational fishermen in returning any tags found to the CEFAS laboratory in Lowestoft; to encourage tag reporting, all elasmobranch (shark, skate and ray) ID tags will now be entered into a special £500 lottery draw in addition to the standard cash reward and T-shirt.

What to do if you find a tagged shark

Telephone the CEFAS tag returns hotline on +44 (0)1502 524526 or on use this form providing as much information about the shark as possible: where it was caught (coordinates), date and method of capture, length. sex and condition, and anything else of interest such as what it had been feeding on, or what other species were caught at the same time.

For more information about the CEFAS’ elasmobranch work or tagging programmes see their website or contact sharks&

Posted in: Infocentre, Shark Bites
Rss Feed Facebook button Webonews button Digg button Flickr button Newsvine button