First Basking Shark sighting of 2008

18th Feb 2008 This weekend's monthly ferry survey on Rosslare-Pembroke route on Irish Ferries vessel the Isle of Inishmore produced the years first Basking Shark record.

IWDG members Conor Ryan & Sean Ronayne reported the sighting at 10.10 am, at a distance of c.20M from their port side, as the vessel was travelling at 21 knots...." It was an adult swimming slowly at the surface, possibly feeding as it was travelling amongst visible blooms and small upwellings. It clearly showed a large almost isosceles-triangular dorsal fin followed by the tip of its caudal fin. We didn't observe white in the mouth which is usually conspicuous but this may have been due to our high vantage point on the bridge of the ferry, or it may have had it's mouth closed."

Full details of this encounter can be plotted on the advanced search facility of

It's noteworthy that the 1st basking shark sightings of 2006 & 2007 respectively were on 4th & 18th April. So this is a very early record of the planet's 2nd largest fish species. It will be interesting to see if 2008 pans out to be another record year for basking shark sightings in Irish waters.

Pádraig Whooley

IWDG Sightings Co-ordinator

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