Featured Image: The Times
After nearly three decades, basking sharks have been spotted off the coast of California once again! These gentle giants have returned in substantial numbers after 30 years and although these sharks can grow up to 30 feet long, beachgoers have no need to worry. The nickname gentle giants come from their non-aggressive nature and they usually feed on tiny food such as plankton.
According to a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Heidi Dewar, “we don’t have enough data points nor enough basic information to say what is going on with their population with any confidence. Basking sharks are California’s largest shark and yet most people have never heard of them. In the last few decades, regulations have reduced fisheries mortalities but they are still at risk because their fins are very valuable for shark fin soup.”
Scientists are hopeful that these sightings could signal the return of basking sharks to the region, but it is too early to know. One marine biologist, Giancarlo Thomae, told San Jose Mercury News, “I have been going on the ocean for 20 years and have only seen four basking sharks in my whole life. Because of the rarity of these animals, it is extremely difficult for researchers to tag these animals, or study them.”
If you see a basking shark in the California area, then please reach out to NOAA. Any information is always appreciated. You can contact NOAA through “email@example.com”
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