Our basking shark photo ID catalogue may be in its early stages, but luckily, we are getting help from some experts: researchers from the New England Aquarium (NEA)! The NEA has the longest-running and most comprehensive North Atlantic right whale research and conservation program in the world. Every summer, researchers from the NEA conduct research on the endangered North Atlantic right whale in the Bay of Fundy. Some of this research entails long days on the water surveying and photographing right whales. The NEA maintains a photo ID catalogue for the North Atlantic right whale. This photo ID catalogue contains more than 30,000 sightings records of more than 430 individuals photographed from 1935 to the present!
Researchers from the NEA are very excited about our initiative to develop a basking shark photo ID catalogue, and fully appreciate our need for basking shark photographs. While out searching for right whales, they’re also using their eagle eyes and camera skills to record and photograph any sharks they see. We are very thankful! So far this year, they have seen 31 basking sharks (plus 8 “probable” basking sharks).
They have also sighted 7 blue sharks!
The NEA have also taken many photos. We are still comparing their photos with the ones in our catalogue to see if there are any matches. However, below are some individuals that they sighted, which were not in our catalogue, making them new individuals for 2012:
The NEA also maintains a blog about their research, which you can find here:
Follow them on facebook!
Our shark sighting database and basking shark photo ID catalogue is still in early development. Shark sightings and photo submissions are critical for our project’s success. Thanks to all those that have participated so far. Keep the sightings and photos coming!