Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP)

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The Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP) is a project run by the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network  www.ssacn.org. It is a long term initiative aimed at gathering data on species of sharks, skates and rays found in Scottish waters.

The objectives of the SSTP are to :

  • to tag and record data on many of the shark, skate and ray species found within Scottish coastal waters
  • Increase public awareness highlighting the need for shark protection
  • Encourage use of “codes of best practice”
  • to highlight sea anglers conservation efforts
  • show government agencies that sea anglers are a vital part of data gathering
  • and that properly managed sea angling stocks can provide huge socio economic benefits
  • to directly contribute to shark fisheries management

Answers to some of the more frequently asked questions follow – further in-depth material can be found at the SSTP’s website :

Why Save Sharks ?

Most sharks serve as top predators at the pinnacle of the marine food pyramid, and so play a critical role in ocean ecosystems. Directly or indirectly they regulate the natural balance of these ecosystems – at all levels – and so are an integral part of them.

Who can tag ?

The SSTP is available to all disciplines of sea angler.

Best Practice ?

We encourage all anglers to abide by the “codes of best practise” and may insist new taggers attend a short course at a local centre or spend time with an approved tagger.

What else will the SSTP be doing?

SSACN and the SSTP will work in partnership with government agencies like the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Marine Directorate and Fisheries Research Scientists (FRS) and academic institutions such as Millport Marine laboratory and Glasgow University to help provide a focal point for shark research.

Notifying the SSTP and anglers of recaptures ?

Rather than sending recapture details by post anglers are able to enter details of a caught fish online and will  in turn receive details of known data eg: days at liberty, distance travelled, weight/length gain, etc;

Will the data I provide be safe?

The SSTP will accumulate the tagging information on a database and this data will NOT be distributed to any group or body with any commercial fishing interests.

The control of data will be closely guarded, and only available in its ‘raw and total’ format to a limited number of ‘approved’ scientists. Any information given out from the database will be on a “Need to know” basis.

Did the SSTP be starting from scratch?

The Glasgow Museum and the UK Shark Tagging Programme contributed their existing data concerning Scottish sharks.

Special Events

The SSTP will run a series of ‘special events’ throughout the year to increase the number of fish caught and tagged.

The events also have a good social side and many tales are told, over a beer or two, about the “ones that got away”

The SSTP is funded in part by

Argyll and Islands Leader Programme
Dumfries and Galloway Leader Programme
and Scottish Natural Heritage