Nov-Dec 2007. A slow start.

Posted on January 28, 2008
Written by: Shark Savers

Greetings from Mafia Island, Tanzania.

mafiasunset
Sunset on Mafia Island

The second year of whale shark research initiated by the Shark Research Institute (SRI) has officially commenced. I am working off the dive liveaboard vessel M/V Kairos. I had to spend some time visiting all the appropriate offices and shaking a lot of hands to let all the proper authorities (COSTECH –Tanzanian Science Commission, Marine Parks, WWF-Tanzania etc.) know of my return and continuing of the research. With all the pleasantries and permit applications aside, I could roll up my sleeves and get back to work.

In all I was able to get out for seven days of observations during the end of November and first week of December. Sometimes field work can prove to be pretty frustrating. The weather was nice but there were very few sharks to be found. We even got the utralight aircraft up two of the days to do some aerial surveys for sharks.

Most of the sharks we did find were untagged. I also found two sharks that had tag streamers, but had lost the placard with their ID numbers. I tried to get some pictures of the sharks to reference with my database. One of the sharks had a long horizontal cut in its dorsal fin – a feature it had last year when I tagged it. So that is shark #0846, back from last year. A few of the sharks we observed were well north and west of the area we usually patrol. It may just be a little early in the season, or conditions must not be very favorable, but the sharks are not here yet. I will have to wait until 2008 to get to tag some sharks. I am leaving Tanzania for the holidays, but I get a good report the day I am leaving that the sharks are starting to be reported in higher numbers. I am excited to get back and get some tags out…