Sharkatag 2009 is set to attract around 200 volunteer sea anglers fishing from the shore, kayaks and boats in an attempt to tag as many inshore sharks as possible over a three-day period this June.

And, the TV channel just for anglers, will be there to cover it for its ‘Sea Watch UK’ series.

It’s part of the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network’s campaign to highlight the urgent need for shark, ray and skate conservation in Scottish waters, as well as raising the public awareness of sea angling and its contribution to the economies of many coastal communities.

The Scottish Fisheries Minister recently commented “Our scientists tell us that some shark populations are critically endangered, and we need to respond to that advice.”

This is not news to Scottish sea anglers. The severe decline in the stocks of several species of shark in Scottish waters has been apparent for the last two decades, but in the past the voices of anglers have been ignored by governments – even though Scottish sea angling supports many livelihoods and business opportunities and contributes more than £150 million per year to the Scottish economy.

Ian Burrett, SSACN’s Projects Director said
“Governments say they require research-based evidence but have never put programmes in place to gather the necessary data for sharks. SSACN’s tagging programmes will help fill that gap by gathering valuable data regarding the growth rate, migration, non-natural predation, population and stock fluctuations of various species.
“Sharkatag 2009 builds on the successful spurdog ‘tagathon’ SSACN held around Loch Sunart only this time anglers will be visiting marks around the Solway looking to catch and tag tope, smoothound and spurdog and collect data on other shark species.”

According to Willie Kennedy and Stuart Creswell who are organising the event.

“The response to Sharkatag, even before this official launch, has been terrific. We already have had anglers from Yorkshire, Kent, Dorset, Cheshire and all over Scotland confirm they will be attending.

“This represents a tremendous commitment on their behalf to their sport and to conservation, perhaps even more so given the current economic situation.”

Anglers signing up for Sharkatag at will each receive a Participants Pack with details about the weekend; SSACN tope and small shark handling best practice guides; a list of suggested launch sites and fishing spots; tagging instruction ; fish return forms and one years free membership of SSACN.

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