The weather was superb for both days of the event and a good crowd of anglers were rewarded with some really good fish being taken and tagged if of a suitable size and of course all had their data recorded (especially the recaptures) before being released unharmed. A breakdown by species will be added once we have received returns from all the anglers.
Sharkatag is usually run from three west coast locations but this year a fourth was added which allowed even more people to take part with shore and boat anglers participating from the Sands of Luce, Brighouse Bay, Isle of Whithorn and Drummore.
William Kennedy of SSACN’s Events Team said “I am really pleased with the turn out this year. We’ve been unfortunate with the weather in recent years and although we had to change this year’s date it was great to see so many people out enjoying sea angling and directly contributing to the conservation of Scotland’s sharks and also to the local economies”
Originally planned for June but rescheduled due to weather concerns, Sharkatag is SSACN’s flagship event and aims to tag and record for scientific record as many shark species as possible. Tagging data gained through events like Sharkatag contribute greatly to the charities tagging database which now hold over 7,000 tagged sharks, skates and rays. Scientists know surprisingly little about the lives of sharks and when tagged sharks are subsequently recaptured the data is invaluable in helping illuminate migration patterns, site fidelity and both positive and negative population changes.
The importance of Sharkatag and shark tagging cannot be ignored; Citizen science projects like ours are able to achieve things that scientists simply cannot, thanks to our volunteers.
Annual events like Sharkatag help quantify change and an on-going concerning trend is the decrease in Tope numbers in recent years; this may be related to the EU commercial fishing sector having no catch limit and taking 10,000 tonnes of Tope of caught each year.