Science in Luce Bay

Dr. Lea-Anne Henry with a tagged tope.

Dr. Lea-Anne Henry with a tagged tope.

In spite of some less than fantastic weather last week, the SSTP managed to get out for a couple of days of shark tagging as part of some scientific research. Our Project Officer Ed Wright was out tagging to gain further experience as part of his ongoing training. We were also lucky enough to have Dr. Lea-Anne Henry of Herriott Watt University and James Thorburn of The University of Aberdeen with us. Along with the SSTP they are both part of SIORC (Sharks, skates and rays In the Offshore Region and Coastal zone of Scotland) a community project aiming to further shark research in Scotland.

In addition, as part of his PhD, James (The SSTPS’s first ever Project Officer) placed some data storage tags on two tope. The tags will record data about the sharks surrounding habitat including depth, temperature and light levels. The data retrieved from these tags and others placed last year will help James explore tope migrations and movement patterns as part of his PhD which will hopefully be published next year.

On Tuesday the weather proved too difficult to catch any tope however following a move further inshore, we caught and tagged several bull huss and starry smoothhound which we tagged and released. On Wednesday the weather improved enough get a little further offshore where we were able to catch and tag two tope. One was approximately 35lbs and the other was a respectable 50lbs. Ed had another on his rob but in a bit of bad luck it managed to bite through the metal cable in the trace!

Nevertheless, a fantastic two days of fishing and science was had by all. We tagged a total of six smoothhound, six huss and two tope.

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