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Basking shark

The basking shark is the largest fish in the Atlantic Ocean, and the second largest living fish in the world after the whale shark. It can grow up to 12m length, weigh more than 5 tons, and was hunted for its valuable liver oil.

Despite its large size, it is completely harmless for humans. It is a filter feeder which feeds on plankton, and it can frequently be seen swimming slowly, close to the surface of the sea, with its mouth wide open (it can reach 1m diameter in the largest animals!), following plankton concentrations in the water column.

The basking shark is a highly mobile species, traveling great distances across oceans and through a wide variety of oceanic habitats. Breeding sites are currently unknown, as is the global population size and trend. They are most often encountered on the surface in North Eastern Atlantic coastal waters during calm, sunny conditions between April and October, but exact months vary with the areas: for example, around Cork County waters they can be found from April to July, but they do not appear in the West coasts of Scotland until July and August.

Catch a glimpse

Basking shark

Experience Europe's marine wildlife


4-Day Marine Eco Guided SUP Tour in Cornwall

UK Cornwall Falmouth Area

2-Day SSI Diving Course in Mogán

Spain Canary Islands Gran Canaria

Malin Head Scuba Diving Trip

Ireland County Donegal Inishowen Malin Head

MónNatura Delta de l'Ebre Guided Tour

Spain Catalonia Terres de l'Ebre Delta de l'Ebre Natural Park

City SUP Tour of Derry-Londonderry

UK Northern Ireland Causeway Coast & Glens

Full-day Sailing Trip in Majorca

Spain Balearic Islands Majorca

Diving & Sightseeing Boat Tour in Cascais

Portugal Lisbon region Cascais

Dive in a marine reserve in Majorca

Spain Balearic Islands Majorca

Malin Head Walking with Wildlife & Heritage Tour

Ireland County Donegal Inishowen Malin Head

Birdwatching Tour in the Algarve's Ria Formosa from Faro

Portugal Algarve

Azores Whales & Lagoa do Fogo Volcano Tour

Portugal Azores Islands

Try SUP Tour on Deba River

Spain Basque Country

Santa Isabel Shipwreck Dive in Ria de Arousa

Spain Galicia Rias Baixas Ria de Arousa

Coasteering in West Wales

UK Wales West Wales

Scottish Castles and Sheltered Sea Lochs

UK Scotland Argyll & Bute

Reef Diving Experience in Stella Maris

Croatia Istria Umag & Novigrad

4-Day Sea Kayaking Adventure in Menorca

Spain Balearic Islands Menorca

Rock Climbing at Malin Head

Ireland County Donegal Inishowen Malin Head

Kayak Tour in Arrabida Natural Park

Portugal Lisbon region Sesimbra

Small ship cruise to Skye & the Small Isles

UK Scotland Highlands Skye and Lochalsh