The Basking Shark (scientific name Cetorhinus maximus) is the world's second largest fish and is often sighted on our various Shark Watching Scotland trips in the waters around Scotland's Isle of Mull .  It is a cold-water plankton-feeder reportedly reaching a total length of 10 m and a weight of 5 tonnes. 

This gentle giant, which can be closely approached while feeding near the surface, is now a popular tourist attraction and legally protected in some parts of the world. However, it is still being fished elsewhere for its fins, liver oil and meat. So many Basking Sharks have been killed in some parts of the world, that they are now hardly ever sighted in these areas. 

In April 2000, the UK proposed the Basking Shark for addition to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Although this proposal was unsuccessful, it did result in the collation of a great deal of information about this mysterious animal and increased awareness of its special nature.

This web site has been set up to make the information collected for the CITES proposal more widely available. Visitors can choose to view as much or as little information on each topic as they wish, using links to investigate each topic in more detail. You can also post messages to other Basking Shark enthusiasts on the bulletin board.

The enormous Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus is one of the most magnificent marine animals that may be seen off our coasts. It has been fished for over 200 years, and recent commercial fisheries providing fins and oil for international trade have seriously depleted shark stocks.

Collapsing fisheries and low population recovery rates have led to legal protection for Basking Sharks in some areas. However, unmanaged fisheries continue in other countries. Additionly, the high value of Basking Shark fins in international trade (as an ingredient for shark fin soup) means that sharks caught accidentally outside protected waters are increasingly likely to be finned rather than being released unharmed. These unmanaged fisheries may threaten Basking Shark populations that are legally protected in other parts of their range.

Shark Watch Isle of Mull Scotland




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Sharkwatch Scotland is part of the Sealife Surveys Group, a family venture leading the way in experienced & responsible marine wildlife adventures.  Further information can be found at the following web sites:  Whale Watching Holidays  Wildlife Cruises Scotland  Whale Watching Trips