First Basking Shark of 2013

The first basking shark of the year has been spotted in West Cornwall waters.   Arriving a little later than usual the gentle giant was seen swimming off Porthcurno last week.

Believed to be a young shark, stretching just two metres compared to up to 12 metres for a fully grown animal, it was a welcome sight for spotters.  “It is very exciting, every year I can’t wait to see them,” said Rory Goodall, from Elemental Tours in Penzance, who collates information on shark sightings.

“You see the same animals year after year and can tell them apart because each one has distinguishing marks.”   Mr Goodall said that thanks to the chilly winter it had taken a little longer than normal to see the tell tale fins appear in our waters. The first basking shark was seen in Cornwall on March 8 last year.   “The sea temperature has been down which has stopped the growth of plankton, the food they eat,” he said.   All basking shark sightings are added to a data base and handed over to the Shark Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust.   “It is all to do with conservation,” he said.   “Globally basking sharks are threatened so we like to make a note of each one we have seen so we know what they are doing, how many there are and things like that.”

If you spot a basking shark the best advice is not to disturb it but view it from a safe distance.   For more information and to log a sighting, visit www.baskingsharks.org

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