photo-identification images can be taken either from the surface
or underwater. An ideal set of photographs will contain the
whole dorsal fin face from both left and right sides. Like
many animals basking sharks are often not the most cooperative
photographic subjects so a perfect set of photographs is rare.
Generally we must make do with distant, blurry images of only
partial fins, but even these can often lead to conclusive
matches. If possible, when photographing from the surface
try to maintain yourself between the sun and the shark. This
avoids silhouetting so that the colour and pigmentation pattern
of the dorsal fin can be used for identification.
is important to take great care not to disturb the animal's
normal behaviour while photographing basking sharks. Remember,
it is illegal to harass basking sharks in UK waters. Many
of the sharks on our database have severe dorsal fin wounds
obtained from collisions with vessel hulls and propellers
so the Shark Trust recommends that vessels keep a distance
of 30 metres from all sharks while maintaining slow speeds
and extra vigilance to avoid injury. Often, when a vessel
is near a group of basking sharks it is best to stop the boat
and let the sharks approach of their own accord. Divers and
snorkelers need to keep a minimum distance of 4 metres from
basking sharks at all times and are urged not to alarm the
sharks by using flash photography.
more information on the European Basking Shark Photo-identification
Project visit the website at: www.baskingsharks.co.uk.
you have any basking shark images of your own that you would
like us to include on the database please send them by e-mail
send them by post to the Shark Trust at:
The Shark Trust
Shark Trust is the conservation charity dedicated to the study,
management and conservation of sharks, skates and rays and
secretariat of the European Elasmobranch Association. The
Trust is a membership organisation. Join now and receive your
supporter pack, free shark poster (EU only) and newsletters.
charity no: 1064185
Registered company no: 3396164
information on other Shark Trust activities or to become a
member visit the homepage: www.sharktrust.org.