Male Tope # 21161 was originally tagged in Luce Bay in June 2003 under the UK Shark Tagging Programme and was subsequently recaptured (also in Luce Bay) in October 2013. Making a grand total of 3716 days; which easily passes the previous best of 2032 days at liberty. The same charter boat was involved with tagging and the recapture of the new record.
The tope had put on 8 lbs between captures and at 46 lb’s total, is fairly close to the maximum size for males. While it doesn’t quite match our record common skate record of 5703 days, we were still very impressed.
Tope are shown through our tagging data and more sophisticated Data Storage Tags to reside in Luce Bay throughout the summer months before making an annual migration to the Bay of Biscay or the Azores each winter (or in some cases north to Iceland).
It is now established that Luce Bay is an extremely important site for the tope as they use these waters for mating.
Although there was less than twelve miles between the tagging and recapture locations, tope 21161 may well have swum over 30,000 miles between the incidents.