Last summer the Manx Basking Shark Watch (MBSW) team on the research vessel Happy Jack deployed 3 satellite tags on basking sharks in Manx waters. These tags have all now popped off the sharks as planned and have streamed their data to the Argos satellite system.
Full analysis of the data will take a few months but the pop-off locations indicate that the sharks have been over-wintering in the same grounds as most of their other tagged basking sharks.
One however, crossed the Atlantic and went all the way to Canadian waters, perhaps helping to explain why there seems to be significant genetic mixing between basking sharks world-wide.
These tags are very expensive at nearly £4000 each by the time they have been analysed; but the MBSW feel that information gained is beyond price as they start to understand where these rare, endangered animals spend their winters after they have left Manx shores.
According to Jackie Hall of MBSW they are in a similar situation as SSACN / SSTP : "When we started in 2004, no-one knew had any understanding for the behaviours and patterns we are seeing. We as a small group of volunteers have answered a lot of those key questions in the last few years” ……. and …… “Despite the importance of the research, funding issues mean the future of the project is in danger.”