The funding has been offered by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Argyll and the Islands LEADER Programme and will be used to employ a Shark Project Officer who will work with SSACN to further develop the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP – www.tagsharks.com) whose objectives are to :
- Record data on shark, skate and ray species
- Increase public awareness
- Highlight the need for species protection
- Encourage use of “codes of best practice”
- Showcase conservation methods and efforts
Project Director Ian Burrett "SSACN has long campaigned for programmes aimed at regenerating the stocks of Scotland’s sharks; unfortunately the government and fisheries managers say they are unable to act as they say they lack the necessary scientific data and have no programme in place to gather it."
“Thanks to our funding partners and the many anglers who support our efforts, we shall be gathering that data for them.”
Tagging is the only non-destructive means of gathering the necessary data. It will be undertaken by volunteer sea anglers – fishing from the shore, kayaks or boats – who will catch, tag and release various shark, skate and ray species, either as part of their normal fishing trips or during major tagging events coordinated by the Shark Project Officer and SSACN.
The duties of the Shark Project Officer will also include arranging training workshops for anglers and raising awareness of Scottish sharks, skates and rays by liaising with fishermen, and visiting schools in Argyll.
Jane Dodd, SNH Marine Project Officer for Argyll and Stirling said: “We are hoping to recruit a dynamic project officer to lead this exciting project. Someone with project management skills and at least an interest in sea angling and a willingness to do some boat based field work. Quite an unusual range of skills to be found in a single person but we have our fingers crossed that he or she is out there!