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Saving sharks through Mucus

We are very excited to be able to announce that we have today launched our shark mucous sampling project which has been made possible through initial funding support from Sea-Changers. 

With scientific institution support, the project objective is to collect circa 250 mucous samples which will be held in a long term storage facility to await analysis.

With up to 20 sub samples being available from a single mucous sample, this project has the potential to provide material for 5000 individual areas of study.

The samples will be made available to scientific organisations who are pursuing relevant areas of study and will enable DNA, stable isotope and fatty acid analysis which will assist with population, kinship and other areas of study.

Sharks are classed as a data poor species so any information obtained will help underpin successful national and international shark fisheries management.

Recreational sea angling charter skippers will be trained in a non invasive mucous collection technique and collect the mucous samples from a number of shark species caught and released by recreational sea anglers. 

As we progress through this exciting project we will post updates on this blog.

For more information or if you are a charter skippers who wants to take part in this project contact us. We will be contacting our contributing skippers soon to arrange training.

Update 1st March 2024

Its over 2 years since Dr. Simon Thomas and myself set ourselves the challenge of collecting mucous from sharks and extracting DNA so its really exciting to now be in the final stages of planning and the initial stages of the execution of this project

This week we received the medical grade cool boxes which will be used to store and transfer the swab samples from the recreational charter vessels, a purchase made possible from the support of our partner, sea-changers.

All of a sudden the project feels even more exciting, if that were possible.........?

We are truly humbled by the amount of interest and support from the recreational sea angling charter skippers, and anglers, without whom the mucous collection element of this project could not be delivered.

Their continued assistance and participation in all our work is hugely encouraging and is a source of motivation for the Pat Smith Database team.

As always the quality of the recreational sector input is exceptional and more than justifies their collective title of "Experts by Experience".

Dr Simon Thomas is currently dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the training materials and other bits n pieces. Once the rest of the kit arrives he will begin to deliver on board training with the skippers and crew who see the first sharks in our waters each year.

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