The basking shark is the second largest fish in the entire world (only the whale-shark is bigger). The specimen outside Stø measured approximately 9 meters and was thus a fully grown adult shark close to the maximum length of the species. It was slowly swimming around with it`s mouth wide open, filtering the sea water for plankton. In spite of being such a large shark, basking sharks (like the baleen whales), filter-feed on plankton making the basking shark a harmless and "gentle giant" of the oceans.
Norwegian waters is the northernmost outpost for basking sharks, which is usually found in more warm-temperate waters. Once fairly abundant, basking sharks are now a rare sight in Norway due to over-exploitation (mainly for the liver and the fins which were sold for shark-fin soup). Today, the biggest threat for the sharks is ship strikes.
Below are some pictures of this strange and amazing shark, some of will be used for photo-identification in co-operation with The Shark Trust: http://www.baskingsharks.org/content.asp?did=26584 who is working for the protection of basking sharks and other sharks.
caudal (tail) fin can be seen above the water surface. This individual was between 9-10 m long.
with The Shark Trust: http://www.baskingsharks.org/content.asp?did=26584