Shark tagging

Shark tagging

Sea anglers tagging blue shark Prionace glauca before release. Celtic Sea off Pembrokeshire. August 2010. - Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

What we're doing

Shark tagging is a fantastic way to learn more about our beautiful marine wildlife. The data collected provides much needed information on distribution, movement and population numbers. The information provides data for the future management of these species and the best ways to protect them. 

Small shark tagging

The Small Shark Tagging (SST) Programme has been running since May 2013 and we have been working on behalf of DEFA to collect data for Manx waters. Tope and other sharks, rays and skates are considered to be subject to international threats and are therefore protected in many jurisdictions. However little is known about these species in Manx waters. The project aims to work with local anglers to tag small sharks and rays with identification tags or streamers, on a catch and release basis. It is hoped that the data gathered will provide much needed information on the distribution and numbers of these small shark populations. This information will provide evidence-based data for the future management of these species and the best ways to protect them. 

To date over 57 anglers have been trained with over 300 sharks tagged, including tope, bull huss and spurdog. So far only one of the individuals captured through our programme has been recaptured, in 2018 in the Netherlands;  it was tagged in May and recaptured in September.  The more individuals tagged the more likely this is to happen again. Our anglers have also recaptured individuals from other programmes, including programmes run by Cefas and the Scottish shark tagging programme. 

The Scottish Programme showed what can be achieved through these types of citizen science programmes. Through their work they helped to protect several species of skates, rays and sharks through providing evidence of distribution, abundance and sex. They tagged over three thousand skates, rays and small sharks during the programme, with recapture rates for common skate at 35%!  In addition, they also increased public awareness, highlighting the need for shark protection and the importance of sea anglers conservation efforts, as well as aiding shark fisheries' management. 

Small Shark Tagging training is held every year, free of charge, by Manx Wildlife Trust. Interested in getting involved? Get in touch