Useful 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.
It 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.
For more information on the European Basking
Shark Photo-identification Project visit the website at: www.baskingsharks.co.uk.
If 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 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or send them by post to the Shark Trust
The Shark Trust
The Shark Trust
The 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
Registered charity no: 1064185
Registered company no: 3396164
For information on other Shark Trust
activities or to become a member visit the homepage: www.sharktrust.org.