Shark Tagging Counting sharks for conservation

Starting this year, we will be applying small external tags to sharks as part of a national monitoring scheme.

What does shark tagging involve?

Sharks will be caught either from the shore or from a boat, with great care taken to handle them optimally – their welfare is first priority! Depending on the size of the animal, we will deploy floy darts or micro tags, provided by the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme. These small tags are carefully anchored in the thick area of muscle under the dorsal fin, positioned to sit nice and streamlined along the side of the fish. Sharks are famous for their incredible immune systems and healing abilities, and these tags don’t cause them any bother.

  • The canula is used for tagging larger sharks.

  • The tagging gun is used to deploy micro tags on smaller sharks.

  • Floy dart and micro tags.

How does tagging benefit sharks?

Tagging the sharks means that they can be individually identified, and this is very useful for a few reasons.

1) If someone else catches the same shark from another location and reports the tag number, we can get an idea of our shark’s movement patterns.

2) Knowing the capture rate of tagged and untagged fish can allow us to make population size estimates of the different species, which can then be tracked over time to see if the population numbers are increasing or decreasing.

3) It means that if we catch the same individual again we can see how much it has grown which will provide information on growth rates.

All of our tagging data will be provided to the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme, which is run by the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN). The SSACN has taken responsibility for the tagging data for the whole of the UK, which will constitute important national information on our sharks.


Keen to learn more? SharkStuff would love to hear from you!

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