HAVE YOU SEEN A BASKING SHARK? The Basking Shark Project Basking shark is the second largest shark in the world. It has a very large dorsal fin that often breaks the surface. If you’ve seen a fin at sea, it is very likely that it was from a basking shark! It is common to spot their fins breaking the water surface in the spring and summer when basking sharks swim slowly around to feed on plankton in the surface.
Hai-Norge started a new campaign in 2011 and we are looking for information on the distribution of Basking shark in Norwegian waters. Basking shark used to be very abundant along the coast of Norway, but is now very rare because of overfishing in the past and low reproductive rates.
We at HAI-Norway want to determine the current situation of this shark species, therefore any information is good for us! Are you an old shark fisherman with information about where sharks used to be in the old days, but now was not seen for many years? Your knowledge is useful information for us. Did you get a Basking shark in nets? This is also practical information that can help build up Norway’s first national Basking shark observation database.
What we are interested in are:
• All basking shark sightings that have been made over the last 5 years
• Observation of live shark
• Basking shark that has stuck in the nets
• Basking shark that has been washed up on shore
• Other observations, stories or information.
• All information is helpful to us, including information on any sightings!
• We are also interested in the skin, gills, etc., for genetic studies
What will we do with the information we collect?
• We will start up Norway’s first national registry Basking shark
• Initially, we will try to form a picture of the basking shark distribution along the west coast, to understand where the shark appears, and when they move near the coast during their annual migration.
• If we have collected enough information from the public about the shark’s location, it will eventually be possible to label and track the shark with satellite transmitters!
• If we have more tissue samples, genetic tests will allow us to estimate their relationship with other populations around the world, attempt to map the population size in Norway and how much genetic variation there is in Norway Basking shark today compared to earlier times (via the new and historic samples).
Basking shark facts:
• Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second largest fish species in the world, and can be up to 12 m
• Basking shark feeds on plankton and is no threat to humans
• Basking shark can be seen in the spring and summer, when graze after the plankton in the surface.
• Around June we find basking shark along the west coast of Norway
• We know very little about its behavior and migration patterns, one or where it goes in autumn and winter!
• It was very common in the past, but hunt for its liver (oil) and skin led to a collapse in the stock.
• Basking shark is now an endangered species in Norwegian waters, and hunting and trapping are prohibited.
Thank you for your help!