independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Scientists close to solving riddle of shark swim

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

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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