Following the recent winter storms in the Hebrides, the welcome high pressure over the Easter weekend has revealed more than the Easter bunny. A very early zooplankton bloom has resulted in the return of basking sharks to the waters around the Isle of Coll.
Basking Shark Scotland sighted around 10 individuals during a research trip on Easter sunday; this is among the earliest sightings that have ever been recorded in those waters and indeed across the wider UK. Many areas such as Cornwall have had very poor sightings over the last few years, but usually enjoy the first sightings; however, the early arrival and large numbers of individuals confirms that the Hebrides are still the best in the world for basking shark sightings. It’s possible that these could be the first basking shark sightings in the UK in 2015 (Let us know though if we’ve got that wrong!).
Shane Wasik, owner of Basking Shark Scotland, said: “We were hugely excited about the early arrival; we would normally be expecting them from May onwards, so it’s both intriguing and amazing to have them this early. One possible reason for the early arrival and plankton bloom could be in the frequent high winds and storms this winter which could have unlocked natural upwelling and nutrient availability in the Atlantic, which in turn has provided the perfect conditions for generating shark food.”
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