Sharks play an essential rol in the health of our oceans


Porbeagle sharks travel a long way!

The porbeagle shark is an important component of the Northeast Atlantic ecosystem, but the species is vulnerable to population depletion due to its complicated lifecycle characteristics and unsustainable fishing activities. Despite its vulnerability, there are presently no robust management or conservation strategies for the porbeagle in this region. Dr. Ryan Saunders leads the Marine Institute and Irish Elasmobranch Group’s porbeagle shark tagging project. October 2012 marks an important milestone for the project, as five more porbeagles have been tagged off the Donegal coast by the project’s expert shark angler, Peter McAuley. The project, which has been ongoing since 2008, is now offering the public an opportunity to track the movements of two sharks in near real time on the Irish Elasmobranch Group’s website,


Portbeagle Tracker Map

Five sharks were tagged with conventional pop-up satellite tags, which will record the sharks’ location and depth, over a nine month period. After this, the tags are programmed to detach, float to the surface and transmit the data to orbiting satellites.  In addition to the pop-up tags, two of the tagged sharks were fitted with Smart Position or Temperature Transmitting (SPOT) tags. These tags are fitted on to the dorsal fin of the sharks and each time the fin breaks the water’s surface, a position is transmitted to an orbiting satellite. This allows the sharks to be tracked in near real time and it is believed that this is the first time these tags have ever been fitted on porbeagles. The tags should function for at least the next year, providing a completely new insight into the behaviour of these sharks.


For more information about tags, see our page about tagging:

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