You don’t have to be a Scientist to do your part for marine life. Citizen science is the involvement of volunteers in science and is a great way to get involved in conservation and research. See the list of projects below you can partake in to help conservation of Irish Elasmobranchs, and help improve Irish waters.
This project encourages the Irish beach going public to report their sightings of shark, skate and ray eggcases (aka mermaids’ purses). Resulting observations are then used by scientists to map nursery areas, improving information necessary for fisheries conservation and management.
The Basking Shark Sightings Scheme
This sightings scheme encourages the all members of the public to report their observations of basking sharks. A tagging programme for the sharks has also been set up and observations of sharks, with or without tags, can be submitted to the website.
The Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme
The Inland Fisheries Ireland tagging programme is one of the longest running tagging programmes of its kind in the world. Anglers can make a valuable contribution to shark and ray research and conservation by participating in the tagging programme. If you catch a tagged fish, simply submit the details of the location of recapture, date, time and method to the website. All fishermen returning a tag and recapture details will receive an ‘Irish Marine Sportfish Tagging Cap’.
The Coastwatch Survey is designed to give an overview of the state of the coast. It involves volunteers from all walks of life checking their chosen 500m stretch of coast once around low tide, and jotting observations down on the survey questionnaire while on the shore. Data is then collected and pooled to provide a snapshot of state in areas surveyed at that time.
Clean Coasts organises hundreds of beach clean-ups annually mobilising thousands of volunteers, removing considerable quantities of marine litter from our coastline. They also help organise Marine Litter surveys.
Biodiversity Ireland Data Capture
Biodiversity data is a key requirement for understanding our natural surroundings, for tracking change in our environment and for gaining a greater insight on how we impact upon the ecosystem. Biodiversity Ireland are asking people to get outdoors and document the wildlife they see (including sharks, skates and rays), and submit the sightings to the Data Centre. They have even released a handy app for Android and iPhone.