NOAA Fisheries announces international collaboration with UK organisations to study movement ecology of blue sharks in the eastern North Atlantic

The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries Apex Predators Program is kicking off a NOAA-funded International Science initiative this month, partnering with seven UK-based organisations and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to study potential climate-driven shifts in migratory corridors and stock identification of blue sharks in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Photo of Blue Shark by Dr Bryce Stewart
Photo by Dr Bryce Stewart

This initiative leverages the existing citizen science partnerships between NOAA’s Cooperative Shark Tagging Program and the UK recreational sea angling community. It aims to expand the tagging effort by recruiting additional support from the recreational angling sector to help deploy up to 2000 conventional tags on mature blue sharks off the coast of the UK.

ICCAT is supporting additional data collection by providing five pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) to be deployed on mature female blue sharks in an effort to identify changes in timing and location of migratory corridors related to mating and pupping. This effort also aims to answer questions regarding the existence of a potential third Atlantic stock of blue sharks in the Mediterranean.

Satellite tags will be deployed in collaboration with volunteer anglers and charter skippers, and scientists from the University of Exeter. The project is being coordinated with support from the University of York, the Marine Biological Association UK (MBA), the Angling Trust, the Shark Angling Club of Great Britain and the Pat Smith Database via Shark Hub UK.

As part of the project, two workshops will be held on July 10th this year. The first will be held during the day at the Marine Biological Association (MBA) in Plymouth, with scientific talks from NOAA, the MBA, and Exeter and Plymouth Universities, among others.

The second will be an evening event in Looe and will be focused more specifically on the tagging programme. For the evening event we specifically encourage charter skippers and anglers to come along. More details to follow soon.

If you are interested in attending either event please contact Dr. Bryce Stewart for the MBA event and John McMaster for the evening event in Looe, or if you are interest tagging, at