torsdag 16 juni 2011

Basking Shark - Brugde

Today at work, I spotted an enormous basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) feeding in the waters off Stø in Vesterålen.

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: who is working for the protection of basking sharks and other sharks.

Basking shark close to the surface. The upper part of the mouth, the dorsal fin and the
caudal (tail) fin can be seen above the water surface. This individual was between 9-10 m long.


A local fishing boat passing the shark

Dorsal fin of the shark

Close-up view of the dorsal fin, which will be used to identify the shark in co-operation
with The Shark Trust:

Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) in the evening light

4 kommentarer:

  1. Tøff! Hilsen fra Tromsø

    ps Ingenting spesielt på Tisnes idag :-)

  2. Nice! Skal du starte ID-katalog for Brugde nå? :P


  3. Har allerede begynt med en ID-katalog for brugde :-) men jeg har bare to individer (foreløpig)..

    Beste hilsn fra Stø - hadde vågehval fra land igår, skal ut på sjøen nu..


  4. Hei Fredrik!
    Vil gjerne ha kontakt med deg i forbindelse med brugde-observering! Kan du sende meg en mail på, så hadde det vært topp!