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Saturday 20 September 2014

Scientists close to solving riddle of shark swim

Greg Harkin

Published 02/01/2013 | 05:00

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SCIENTISTS believe they may have finally cracked the mystery of where Ireland's basking sharks swim to when they leave Irish waters.

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Marine biologists here have discovered that the mammals travel up to 5,000km to the west coast of Africa, debunking previous theories that they stay in the north Atlantic.

A transmitter was fitted to a five-metre-long female shark called Banba off Malin Head, Co Donegal, in July.

And recently a signal was picked up off Cape Verde, 570km west of Senegal.

The tagging was part of the Monster Munch Basking Shark Community Awareness Project, run by the Irish Bask- ing Shark (IBS) group, in assoc- iation with the Inishowen Development Partnership and with Queens University in Belfast.

Emmett Johnston, one of the IBS's co-founders, said he hoped satellite tags fitted on four other sharks would transmit a signal soon.

"The group are delighted with the finding, but it is a bit premature to be rushing out to change the shark biology books," he admitted.

For more information and to see a video of the shark, log on to www.baskingshark.ie.

Irish Independent

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