Two massive basking sharks spotted swimming metres from shore in Ireland

·3 min read
Swimmers stayed in the water to watch as the sharks swam past them (@k.m.m.hairstyles/TikTok)
Swimmers stayed in the water to watch as the sharks swam past them (@k.m.m.hairstyles/TikTok)

Two sharks were filmed swimming along the shore of a beach while people looked on in awe.

The basking sharks were spotted in Keem Bay on County Mayo’s Achill Island on the north-west coast of Ireland.

Their big fins were just metres away from adults and children swimming in the water.

Beachgoers can be seen in the video walking closer to the edge of the water to get a better look of the sharks that were slowly swimming parallel to the shore.

In the clip posted by Sandra Hayes, a mobile hairdresser using the TikTok handle @k.m.m.hairstyles, she wrote: “How amazing was this”.

People can be heard in the video repeatedly exclaiming “oh my God”.

A boy looks on calmly while the shark swims past him (@k.m.m.hairstyles/TikTok)
A boy looks on calmly while the shark swims past him (@k.m.m.hairstyles/TikTok)

Basking sharks – which feed on plankton – are a regular visitor to Ireland’s shores when the water is warmer from late spring to late summer.

Conservationists and scientists have called on the Dublin government to legally protect basking sharks in Irish waters.

The Social Democrats have introduced a bill to amend the Wildlife Act, making it an offence to recklessly injure, disturb or harass the endangered species.

Jennifer Whitmore, Social Democrats TD and a former marine biologist, has brought forward a bill to add basking sharks to the list of protected species under the Wildlife Act.

“Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world. Around this time every year we can catch glimpses of these majestic creatures as they slowly meander up our western coast,” she said according to Irish broadcaster RTE.

“Irish people may love basking sharks and delight when they see their tall fins breaking the surface of the water, but unfortunately Irish governments have never protected them.

“This is especially difficult to understand given basking sharks are now an endangered species. They need our help.”

This week, conservation group Irish Basking Shark managed to garner 10,000 signatures in a petition that called for more protection of the sharks in Ireland.

The group announced on Twitter on Tuesday that they have “symbolically handed the petition” over to Green Party TD Malcolm Noonan, but that the “vote won’t happen until this autumn”.

Conservationists in Ireland are calling for laws to protect endangered basking sharks (Getty)
Conservationists in Ireland are calling for laws to protect endangered basking sharks (Getty)

The basking shark is the second-largest living shark after the whale shark. An adult typically grows to 26ft in length. It is a passive and slow-moving creature with the smallest weight-for-weight brain of any shark.

To eat, it keeps its mouth open to take in about 2,000 tons of water per hour to let in plankton.

Although it is said that the basking shark does not have teeth, it actually has very small hooked teeth, with some that curve backwards, numbering about 100 per row.

Although considered to be tolerant of divers and boats, contact with its skin should be avoided as large sharp scales – known as dermal denticles – on its skin have been known to inflict damage.

Fishing of basking sharks still takes place in China and Japan. The fins are sold as the base ingredient for shark fin soup. The liver is sold in Japan as an aphrodisiac, a health food, and its oil as a lubricant for cosmetics.

Read More

The human cost of Doritos: Claims of 84-hour work weeks and stagnant wages at Frito-Lay factory where workers are on strike

Ten years on from the Utoya massacre, Norway still struggles to confront uncomfortable political truths

‘I don’t care if you think I’m Satan reincarnated’: Biden says no excuse for people underplaying Capitol riot

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting