One of Cornwall’s most stunning marine creatures, basking sharks are a favourite attraction for both tourists and local residents due to their size and benign disposition. Only the whale shark is larger than these sharks, making them the second-largest fish species in the world.
Due to its diverse marine life and nutrient-rich waters, Cornwall’s shoreline is a perfect environment for basking sharks. This is due to the plankton blooms in the waters around the county. These sharks are known to congregate in great numbers during the summer months. In order to consume the plankton, basking sharks travel to Cornwall where they use their gill rakers to filter the water.
From April to October is the best time to see a basking shark in Cornish waters. Tourists swarm to Cornwall around this time to see these amazing animals. The distinctive dorsal fins of these fish are frequently observed sticking out of the water as they bathe. It is thought that they bask in the sun to control their body temperature. They get their name from this activity.
Despite their size and strength, basking sharks are renowned for their gentle demeanour. They are not hostile to people, in fact, they are rather an inquisitive fish and frequently approach boats to look them over. As a result, they are a sought-after subject for wildlife photographers, who can take beautiful close-up pictures of the sharks.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature now lists basking sharks as endangered despite their enormous size and popularity. They are particularly susceptible to overfishing since they reproduce slowly, making it difficult for their populations to swiftly repopulate. They can frequently get unintentionally entangled in fishing nets as well, which can result in harm or even death.
By bringing attention to the predicament of basking sharks and working with local fishermen to decrease unintentional bycatch. The Cornish Wildlife Trust is trying to safeguard them around Cornwall. The Trust uses a number of techniques, such as aerial surveys and acoustic tagging, to monitor basking shark populations. The trust is constantly striving to protect basking sharks in Cornwall.
By adhering to the rules for ethical wildlife viewing, visitors can also aid in the preservation of basking sharks. This involves keeping a safe distance from the sharks, avoiding loud noises or rapid movements, and not feeding or otherwise interfering with them. Respecting these rules will allow visitors to witness basking sharks in their natural environment, without endangering them.