Giant basking shark of almost 8 metres washed up on Spanish beach

by Lorraine Williamson
basking shark

FERROL – Sharks are known to live in all seas. That includes the seas that surround Spain. Sharks are regularly spotted near Spanish beaches. These are often blue sharks. However, this time it was a larger species, namely the basking shark.

To the surprise of countless beachgoers, an almost eight-metre-long baby shark washed up on Doniños beach in Ferrol (Galicia) on Tuesday morning. According to the Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals (Cemma), it was a male juvenile ‘Cetorhinus maximus’, the second largest fish in the world – after the whale shark. This basking shark (tiburón peregrino in Spanish) can reach a length of 10 metres and a weight of four tons. 

Cemma experts have said it is a rare species. Moreover, it was likely that the shark was carried by the waves to Doniños Beach, where beachgoers spotted the huge animal on Tuesday morning. 

Cogesa Expats

Civil Protection personnel took on the task of removing the carcass. In doing so, they were supervised by the mayor, José Manuel Rey Varela, and the councillor of security, María del Carmen Pieltain, as stated by the city hall. Experts say the presence of this species so close to the coast is very unusual. 

Leftovers to waste management 

The authorities moved the shark to a dune on the beach by a tractor. On Wednesday, Civil Protection and Cemma employees dissected the animal. Afterwards, they will transfer the remains to the waste management of Galicia (Gesuga), located in Cerceda (A Coruña), for further incineration. 

The basking shark 

The basking shark is cosmopolitan. Basking sharks live in all the world’s oceans with a temperate climate. The animal sifts plankton from the water with its gill sieves. Like other large sharks, the basking shark is an endangered species due to a combination of overfishing and the high demand for shark meat and organs. Consequently, it is listed as Endangered on the IUCN International Red List. 

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