The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world and is common in the Southern Hebrides during summer as they migrate from warm waters following blooms of plankton. Even though they spend a lot of their time below the surface, they are easy to spot even from a distance as their massive dorsal and tail fins break the surface while they feed.
In spite of its imposing appearance, being plankton eaters basking sharks are not aggressive and pose no threat to humans although they have been known to be attracted to the droning of outboard motors and can come quite close to small vessels.
Below is a Basking Shark feeding off the Treshnish Isles showing its huge mouth!
Until recently, little was known about the basking shark’s migration habits and where they go during the winter months, but, thanks to satellite tracking, it is now known that most British basking sharks stay in British waters but swim to greater depths. However, some tagged sharks in New England have been tracked migrating during the winter with some travelling as far south as Brazil and reaching depths of up to 1000m.