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Excellent and surprising things happen sometimes. In this case the urgent need to clean up all the plastic rubbish from our beaches has met with another urgent conservation need, to find out more about our endangered basking sharks.

On the 15th July 2009 the Manx Basking Shark Watch research team put an archival MK10 PAT tag on a beautiful 7m long female basking shark who was nick-named Ami by her sponsors, Tower Insurance of Douglas. Ami had recently been engaged in a romantic tryst with a male shark we named Romeo. She carried her tag until September, staying very close to where she was tagged.

I am delighted to report that a group of primary school children from a Welsh school, ‘Ysgol Crud Y Werin’ have just found this tag on Aberdaron beach in Wales whilst engaged in a beach litter pick organized by ‘Keep Wales Tidy’. They will receive a reward of £50 for the safe return of the tag. If we are VERY lucky the tag will be in very good condition we will be able to download the entire information dataset of where Ami travelled and to what depths. This will add a considerable amount of valuable scientific data to our understanding of the way that basking sharks use the Irish Sea and help us to further protect them.

Many congratulations to the children for finding the tag and a big thank you for helping to clean our beaches. Basking sharks get their noses stuck in plastic rings and their fins cut and tangled in fishing line and ropes so well done to you all on behalf of the basking sharks and all other marine creatures!


See the map of where Ami travelled