Living the Wild Life

Series 6 Prog 3: Basking Sharks

This week Colin hitchs a ride with Parks and Wildlife Ranger Emmet Johnson and his team of researchers in the stunning blue waters off the Inishowen peninsula of Donegal where, for the last few years, an increasing number of basking sharks have been gathering during the summer months. Using innovative marine technology, Emmet and his team are attempting to chart the unique migratory patterns of these illusive giants to discover the reason for their recent visits.

Identifying each shark is of utmost importance and, after waiting for days for the basking sharks to surface, the team finally strike gold. With eagle-eyed Colin on the case, a number of basking sharks are spotted in the distance.

Basking sharks are the biggest fish in the Atlantic and tagging them is no mean feat but thanks to the efforts of Emmet and his team, over 400 of these gentle creatures have been successfully tagged and recorded in the last five years.

As the sharks only feed on surface plankton for about fifteen minutes, the pressure is on to record as much data as possible while conditions are right. With no time to spare, Emmet manages to successfully tag one shark and mount a specialised underwater camera to track his movements over the course of 12 hours.




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