Living the Wild Life

Series 6: Blue Sharks

Colin takes to the high seas in search of Blue Sharks off the coast of Cork. Setting out from Kinsale, he joins skipper Butch Roberts on an angling trip. Not too long ago, Blue Shark angling in Ireland was a brutal affair in which caught sharks frequently died on board ship, but thankfully, times have changed. Irish anglers now contribute to one of the largest tagging programmes anywhere in the world - catching and releasing sharks after fitting them with tags supplied by the Irish fisheries board and recording measurements for research purposes. This has been extremely useful in compiling a database of shark numbers and sizes off the coast of Ireland.

Colin spends the day with Butch and Paul Deane as they tour thirteen miles off the Cork coast hoping for a catch. Colins aim - naturally - is to film Blue Sharks for his first time in Irish waters. To do this, the sharks are lured towards the boat using Butch's special 'rubby dubby' - mackerel ground up with bran - which attracts sharks from kilometres away but stinks up the boat something awful.

Despite rough seas and wet weather, the lads succeed in tagging and releasing a beautiful female blue shark and Colin dives into the cloud of rubby dubby to see her swim away.

Next comes the science. The next day ,Colin meets Tom Doyle and Luke Harman from University College Cork with a view to tagging two Blue sharks with very different tags giving different types of information One is a Smart Position Only (SPOT) tag that sends real-time data back to the university every time the shark breaks the surface. The other is a satellite tag which will disengage after 70 days and send back a welter of location, depth and behaviour data. Once again, Colin battles the elements to get his shots and Tom and Luke end a perfect day by catching two sharks, one male one female, from whom the tags will generate valuable data.

Finally after a couple of months Colin returns to meet Luke and Tom in UCC to find out where the Sharks ended up, off the coast of Africa and their journey hasn't stopped yet.


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