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Eric Stéphan and Alexandra Rohr, Learning more about basking sharks with argos

Mar 16, 2018

Understanding and monitoring marine species is crucial for the development of coherent and effective management practices. That is why the French Agency for Marine Protected Areas, now part of the French Agency for Biodiversity, quickly realized the advantages of satellite-tracking marine species in collaboration with scientists. The studies conducted by APECS (a French Association dedicated to the study and conservation of elasmobranchs) on basking sharks highlight the great potential of Argos transmitters. Indeed, for the moment little is known about the habitat of these “giants of the sea” apart from in certain coastal areas. In this article, Eric Stéphan, the Coordinator of APECS, and project manager Alexandra Rohr, share the initial results of their studies conducted in collaboration with the French Agency for Biodiversity.




Argos satellite tracking tags by Wildlife Computers that can be attached to basking sharks. The MK-10 archival tags (below) record data underwater for several months before releasing and rising to the surface to transmit data. The towed SPOT tags (above) transmit data whenever the animal rises to the surface






Eric Stéphan APECS Coordinator

Since 2002, Eric has worked on several projects at APECS (the French Association for the protection of selachians). His work initially involved studying basking sharks, notably through the EcoBask and “Sur les traces du requin pèlerin” (Tracking basking sharks) projects. More recently, he conducted studies on rays in coastal waters as part of the RECOAM  program. Since 2015, he has continued working as a scientific project manager on certain projects, notably the Pelargos project, but also devotes part of his time to the coordination of APECS’ various projects.



Alexandra Rohr Project Manager

Alexandra has a Master’s degree in Oceanography and Marine Environments. She was recruited by APECS in 2014 to carry out a bibliographic review of the benefits of spatio-temporal management measures for protecting elasmobranchs. In 2015, she joined the association’s team once again to coordinate citizen science program initiated by APECS. She has been working on the Pelargos project since 2017.


This French research and educational NGO is dedicated to sharks, skates and rays. It works to enhance the scientific knowledge not only by collecting data with Argos but also via citizen science programs or surveys at sea

Anna’s trajectory between May 2016 and May 2017. Anna is a female basking shark who measures 6.5 meters long.

MK-10 deployment on a basking shark with a tagging pole.