Displaying items by tag: basking sharks
Local tourist officials have recorded almost daily sightings of the 20-plus-foot basking shark in the waters of Keem Bay over the last month.
And has word of got out, visitor numbers on the Co Mayo island are growing among those hoping to get a glimpse of the gargantuan fish.
The second biggest fish in the seas behind the whale shark — and the largest in the North Atlantic — basking sharks are regulars in Irish waters.
Indeed, number of the gentle marine wildlife giants have reached such figures that experts have referred to the waters off the West Coast in the summer months as a ‘shark ark’.
Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.
"You could see the inside of their huge mouths very clearly under the water as they were feeding," Power told RTÉ News of the three-hour breakfast. "They swam close to the rocks going in circles. It was incredible."
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reports that another sighting was made at the same time off Slea Head in Co Kerry – adding to a list of inshore sightings along the South West coast since 31 March, when the first basking shark spotting of 2016 was reported off West Cork.
And the sheer size of this group is surely a boost for the 'shark park' initiative mooted for the Wild Atlantic Way last summer.
VIDEO: A close encounter with basking sharks off the Clare coast.https://t.co/d3ozNFg8RI— RTÉ News (@rtenews) April 12, 2016
Meanwhile, some no less impressive sights have been seen of Donegal, new video shows basking sharks - the second biggest fish in the sea - breaching off Malin Head.
Bren Whelan of Wild Atlantic Way Climbing told Independent Travel that it's been an "outstanding week" for marine wildlife watching on the North Coast, saying he himself had witnessed "over 300" basking shark breaches.
Basking sharks have been seen in big numbers the area all month long, with 15 spotted during the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group's Whale Watch Ireland 2015 event on the afternoon of 23 August alone.
The second largest fish in the sea are a regular summer sight off Ireland's coasts, particularly in Donegal, Mayo and Kerry – all prime spots along the western coastal tourism route initiative.
Indeed, Ireland is one of the best places in the world to see these magnificent examples of marine wildlife, says Emmett Johnston of the Irish Basking Shark Study Group.
And according to Dr Pete 'Hammerhead' Klimley, sites like Malin Head could be perfect as 'shark park' reserves to protect a species that may only number a few thousand worldwide, despite recently placing third in a list of the most unusual sharks.
Certainly such a shark park reserve would afford protections to help avoid the shocking harassment of marine life exhibited by two louts videoed 'surfing' a whale shark recently.
According to the Irish Mirror, calls have been made for the men involved in the sickening stunt to be charged for their abuse of the gentle giant, the largest fish in the world's oceans.
#MarineWildlife - Following Friday's look back at the basking shark that surprised bathers off Cape Clear last summer, Independent.ie brings us this remarkable up-close video of the ocean giants returning to the Kerry coast for the warmer months.
The footage was captured near Dingle by sea kayaker Noel O'Leary, who said: "I’ve seen the odd minke whale, but to see a shark that's bigger than the kayak so close is quite amazing."
But it wasn't the only surprising sight around Ireland's coast as of late, as Her.ie reports on a 'surfing seal' in Dungarvan.
Apparently, the seal has become somewhat of a local celebrity after taking a liking to an abandoned surfboard at the mouth of the Colligan river.
Bridget Healy spotted two of the ocean's second-largest fish from the shore at Ardfield, near Clonakilty in West Cork last Monday 9 March – a little earlier than they usually appear.
But it's still some time off their peak numbers expected between May and June, when the gentle giants might come closer to the shore like one did in Cork Harbour last summer.
Ireland's Wildlife has more on the story HERE.
#MarineWildlife - Bathers enjoying yesterday's fine weather in Cork Harbour got up close and personal with a massive basking shark, as some amazing photos on TheJournal.ie and video on Facebook attest.
Yet as regular readers of Afloat.ie know very well, people had nothing to fear from the giant fish as it swam among them - as its diet consists solely of plankton.
The remarkable scene comes just says after a group of at least 12 fin whales was spotted in the Celtic Sea off Pembrokeshire from a ferry crossing from France to Ireland - a possible indicator that the gentle giants might be feeding in the area year-round, according to BBC News.
On a similar note, the Daily Telegraph has a gallery of some of Kent photographer Terry Whittaker's images of dolphins at play and interacting with humans around Britain and Ireland.
But it was a different story off Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles earlier this week, as Mail Online reports, as a group of paddleboarders were joined by what appeared to be a great while shark - the ocean's deadliest predator.
"Once you see it, your knees kind of go weak," said Bo Bridges, who captured some scary close-up images of the dangerous fish with a drone-mounted camera.
RTÉ News reports that the footage captured by the team from the Irish Basking Shark Project, who affixed their camera to the giant six-metre shark off Malin Head last month.
Team spokesperson Emmett Johnston remarked on the basking shark bonanza off Donegal at present, commenting that the research "haven't seen sharks in such good numbers since 2010".
But he was never in any real danger as despite their fearsome appearance, the gentle giants live on a diet of plankton.
As The Irish Times reports, remarkable finds such as two-century-old clams and oysters, an endangered sailfin roughshark, a massive sponge and a giant hydroid - a rare relation to jellyfish and coral - were among the marine wildlife recorded by researchers on the RV Celtic Explorer in the Whittard Canyon on the Irish Atlantic margin.
Dr Louise Allcock of NUI Galway, who led the Marine Institute team on the ocean survey, said it was "part of an ongoing effort to understand Ireland's deep-sea biodiversity".
In a similar process to that used by the group who made new marine discoveries at Rockall recently, the Marine Institute team used a submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to collect images and samples from the ocean chasm that's twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Some of those samples may aid in antibacterial and pharmaceutical research, the team explained.
The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.
In other marine wildlife news, the Belfast Telegraph fears that "chilly seas" could be keeping basking sharks at bay from Northern Ireland's waters, as the first sighting of the year was recorded last month.
Reports from various sources indicate that water temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees lower than normal for this time of year, inhibiting the blooming of plankton that are the main source of food for the second-largest fish in the sea.
And the numbers say it all, with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) confirming only 19 sightings of basking sharks around the island of Ireland as of the end of May this year, compared to 84 in the same period in 2012 - although more were spotted earlier this month off Malin Head, as the video below shows:
Yet despite their reactions, they were never in any danger, as the shark was one of Ireland's harmless giants - a basking shark - who clearly attempts to dodge the dinghy as it approaches.
Indeed, the shark may even have been in more danger from the surfers than they were from it, as the marine species is designated as protected under EU law, which makes it illegal to disturb or harass them.
As reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year, the UK's Shark Trust has published a code of conduct for anyone encountering basking sharks in British or Irish waters - and pushing someone overboard on top of one is definitely absent from the list.