Gentle giants of sea return in record numbers
Basking sharks are back in higher numbers than last summer, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust has revealed.
Now in its fifth year, the trust's Seaquest Basking Shark Project has already recorded 28 sightings in June alone. A spokeswoman for the trust said the annual project has got off to a "flying start" this year with more than 100 volunteers already trained and taking part. But she added the trust, which has 14,000 members and over 90 business members, is now looking to recruit more shark fans to take part in the survey and secure valuable data to help conserve this endangered species.
The Seaquest Basking Shark Project trains the public to look out for basking sharks in day-long surveys from June 1 to August 31 at a watch point near Land's End.
Jane Alcock, Seaquest Basking Shark Project co-ordinator for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "We're really pleased with how the project has gone so far this summer.
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"Volunteers have done a great job of covering pretty much all the daylight hours of June – gales and storms permitting. We're keen now to encourage more people to come along, take part in the training and get involved in the project. It's a fantastic way to learn more about our marine wildlife, meet like-minded people and enjoy experiencing real scientific field work."
Spring and summer is traditionally when basking shark numbers are at their highest, due to the seasonal plankton bloom on which the sharks feed.
The survey site – Hella Point – is one of the best places in the UK to spot the animals, which cruise just below the surface of the water when feeding.