Living the Wild Life

Basking Shark Sighting Schemes

Records of sightings of basking sharks from Britain and Ireland have been collected since 1987 by the UK Marine Conservation Society. In 1993 a survey of basking shark sightings (Berrow and Heardman, 1994) obtained 142 records of at least 425 sharks. Most sightings were from fishing boats especially off the southwest coast A Irish basking shark database was established in 1993 containing 279 records of 868 animals. Since 1992 the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have been receiving sighting records through their cetacean sighting schemes and to date they have 282 records of 955 sharks. Nearly one-half (43%) of these records were from 2007 which was a phenomenal year for basking shark sightings. Most records are n June (36%) and May (20%). These records are available on-line on

Dr Simon Berrow
Merchants Quay, Kilrush, Co Clare

Please submit any basking shark sightings to the IWDG, Merchants Quay, Kilrush, Co Clare or on-line at

Recommended Reading:
Berrow, S.D., and Heardman, C. (1994) The Basking shark Cetorhinus maximus (Gunnerus) in Irish waters: patterns of distribution and abundance. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 2, 101-107.

Fairfax, Dennis (1998) The Basking shark in Scotland. Tuckwell Press, Scotland.

McNally, Kenneth (1976) The Sunfish Hunt. Blackstaff Press, Belfast (out of print)

Basking Shark - Great fish of the Sun
Biology of the Basking Shark
Basking Shark Sighting Schemes
Basking shark Conservation


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