About the Project

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The Spot a Basking Shark Project is a partnership between the Pacific Shark Research Center and the National Marine Fisheries Service to investigate the abundance, distribution, and population status of basking sharks in the eastern North Pacific, which are considered a “Species of Concern.” Filling in these vital knowledge gaps will help inform the best recovery plan to rebuild the basking shark population.

Specific goals of the project include:

1) Determining the abundance and occurrence of basking sharks in the eastern North Pacific through a web-based reporting system for the public to record sightings;

2) Improving understanding of basking shark essential habitat and geographic range in the eastern North Pacific using satellite tags;

3) Obtaining additional information on life history and patterns of occurrence by data–mining existing records;

4) Improving data collection and obtaining historic information on basking sharks from nations across the North Pacific.

Co-Project leaders:

Dr. David A. Ebert, Program Director Pacific Shark Research Center, MLML
Dr. Heidi Dewar, Fisheries Biologist, NMFS SWFSC
Dr. Suzanne Kohin, Fisheries Biologist, NMFS SWFSC
Mr. Joseph J. Bizzarro, Ph.D. Candidate, University Washington

Student Assistants:

Erin K. Loury, MSc Candidate, MLML
Jennifer S. Bigman, MSc Candidate, MLML

Collaborators:

Dr. Jackie King, Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C., Canada
Dr. Oscar Sosa-Nishizaki, Department de Oceanografia Biologica, CICESE, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

photo credits: Chris Gotschalk (top right), Ocean Aerials.com (bottom center)

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