United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Scottish sharks survey extended

Environmental concerns continue to weigh on Argyll Array plans

A basking shark tracking project off the west coast of Scotland is to be extended for another year. It could further impact ScottishPower Renewables' plans for the Argyll Array offshore wind farm.                        .

In December 2012, the developer put on hold for a year, its plans for a 1.5GW project off Tiree. The need for further consideration of the environmental impact was cited. The area had previously come under scrutiny by biodiversity regulators, concerned as to the potential impacts on marine wildlife.

Basking sharks in the north-east Atlantic are recognised as endangered, by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They gather around the islands of Coll, Tiree and Canna off Scotland's west coast every summer.

The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the University of Exeter (UoE) tracking project aims to find out more about them. Eight sharks were tagged in July last year and a further 29 will be tagged this summer. Results from the project will assist the Scottish Government in deciding whether a Marine Protected Area should be established in the area.

SNH's Dr Suzanne Henderson said: "Another year of tagging will build on the work we've already done, increasing our confidence in the results and giving us more information on which to base decisions."

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