Wednesday 28 September 2016

Super Sharks: World's second-largest fish filmed off Irish coast

Basking shark season

Published 18/05/2016 | 12:40

As Ireland was basking in sunshine last week, these super-sized sharks were basking off the south coast. Literally.

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Photographer James McCarthy was testing out a new drone at Caliso Bay, Co. Waterford, when he spotted a group of the North Atlantic's biggest fish.

'When I arrived at the beach I could see the sharks' fins just off the shoreline," he told Independent.ie Travel. "I flew the drone out to where I saw them. Around 12 sharks were split into a couple of groups about 400 metres offshore."

"It was amazing to capture them on camera."

Basking shark were once abundant off the Irish coast, but overfishing has led to their listing by the ICUN as endangered in the Northeast Atlantic.

The sharks are thought to grow up to 10m (35 feet) in length, and can be spotted feeding off the Irish coast from April to August. Last week, several of the animals were spotted from the deck of the nearby Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore.

Basking sharks swimming in Caliso Bay, Co. Waterford. Photo: James McCarthy
Basking sharks swimming in Caliso Bay, Co. Waterford. Photo: James McCarthy
Basking sharks swimming in Caliso Bay, Co. Waterford. Photo: James McCarthy
Basking sharks swimming in Caliso Bay, Co. Waterford. Photo: James McCarthy

Basking shark have also been spotted off Cork, Kerry and Clare in recent weeks, although bathers needn't worry. Despite being the world's second-largest fish (only whale sharks are larger), they are docile, toothless and harmless to humans.

It has since transpired that one of the Caliso Bay sharks, nicknamed 'Flowrider', has been tagged and is tracked by the Manx Basking Shark Watch non-profit.

"The drone gives that perspective that we don't normally get, and allows us to see these animals naturally without interfering with them in any way," McCarthy says.

Got any basking shark footage or photos to share?

We'd love to help get the word out on these amazing animals. Send your snaps to Independent.ie Travel via Facebook here, or email travel @ independent.ie.

See more of James McCarthy's photos and videos on Facebook here. To find our more about basking sharks, or report a sighting, see baskingshark.ie.

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