19 September 2005

Scotland: Sharks bask in climate change

Climate change and warmer coastal waters are thought to have caused a massive increase in the number of basking sharks feeding in Scottish waters.

The latest survey results from the Wildlife Trusts (TWT) show that out of 180 sharks spotted over a ten-week period around the UK coast, 172 were seen in Scottish waters.

Despite their association with the oceans' fiercest predators, basking sharks are filter feeders, and it is thought that the slight increase in sea temperatures has caused a related surge in the plankton content of the water.

Colin Speedy, the skipper of TWT's survey boat, said: "Despite the devastating year for seabirds and other marine creatures in Scotland, basking sharks seem to have benefited from the abundance and quality of their main food source, plankton, and are following this supply. Although there are a number of reasons that could have caused this availability, climate change does factor here as the warmer currents south of the Border are pushing it northwards."

Although sea conditions have proved extremely favourable for the fish, other species have suffered in recent years.

Source: news.scotsman.com


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