Basking Shark tagging
Early September 2016 our research crew along with Jake Levenson (Marine Biologist and Conservation Adviser from USA) headed out to Faxaflói Bay
From researchers aboard our tours documenting sightings, to focused tagging efforts, Elding is working hard to be a responsible and top notch whale watching operation.
We have been collecting information on species diversity, distribution, abundance and site fidelity of whales in Faxaflói Bay for many years. This information tells us how the whales in the bay are doing, it lets us know if our operating code of conduct is sufficient to avoid harming whales, and helps shed light on these animals we know so very little about.
Documenting species and behaviour only answers part of the question, if you want to know what whales are doing when boats are not around, you need to employ some creative techniques. That's where telemetry comes in. Telemetry is basically a fancy word for attaching little gadgets that track where animals go and what they do.
As part of Elding’s research program, we began fine scale telemetry research in the summer of 2015. Fine scale telemetry is sort of like a Fitbit for whales. We attach a small device with suction cups that logs everything the whale does. When the device pops off, we can analyze how the animal behaves when we can no longer view it with our eyes.
For 2016-2018 we will be adding satellite telemetry to the fine scale tagging. Satellite telemetry can tell us what areas of Faxafloi bay are important, it can tell if the whales our business depends on are at risk of being harpooned by whalers, and it can shed light into the little known migratory behavior of whales.
In April 2017 "our" tagged Basking shark 'Dimples' seems to have travelled quite a distance since September 2016. Looks like it's slowly making its way back to Iceland after spending the winter in warmer waters!