The first reported Irish basking shark sighting of 2015 was logged on Monday 09 March. The sharks, one large and one smaller animal, were spotted from shore by observer Bridget Healy, just off the coast near Ardfield in West Cork.
Basking sharks, the second largest fish in the sea after the whale shark, are annual spring / summer visitors to Irish coastal waters. The first records typically come in from mid-March onwards, peaking from mid-may into June, and tapering off into August. So while this record is a little early it’s not extraordinary to see sharks this early in spring.
For more information on these gentle plankton-eating giants read our Basking Shark Species Profile here, and check out our feature on how to watch basking sharks in Ireland. It’s also worth checking the Irish Basking Shark Project website for in depth information about basking sharks and their conservation in Irish waters.
Irish basking shark records are coordinated by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group through their online sightings platform. If you see a basking shark please report your sighting to the IWDG here.