Basking Shark Project

Everyone can get involved in the Shark Trust's Basking Shark Project by keeping an eye out for Basking Sharks during the warmer months and recording them on our sightings database.

All information submitted helps researchers to better understand the migration patterns of this vulnerable and often evasive species. If you’re lucky enough to see these gentle giants while walking along the coastline, taking a boat trip or going scuba diving, then please record your sighting with as much information as possible.

If you're close enough and happen to get a particularly good photo of the fin you can also submit this as part of the photo-identification element of the project.

Photo-ID is a powerful, non-invasive field technique used for studying animals in their natural environment. Many individual Basking Sharks can be identified by the unique markings which appear on their fins; these can be natural markings (such as pigmentation marks) or acquired markings (such as scars caused by parasites or injuries from boats and fishing nets). With good quality photographs, some individual sharks will be recognised on re-sighting and can be matched on our database, enabling us to find out more about their migration routes and life histories.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species lists Basking Sharks as globally Vulnerable and Endangered in the Northeast Atlantic. Despite being a heavily protected species, one of the critical issues currently facing Basking Sharks is disturbance and harassment by water users. To ensure a safe, positive interaction between both human and shark, please remember to follow our Basking Shark Code of Conducts for; swimmers and divers; kayakers and boat handlers.

Funding from Save our Seas Foundation (SOSF) has been secured and assures continued expansion for this important project.