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Shark sightings on the up in Scotland
Posted on 24/12/2015

NatureUnited Kingdom

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Basking shark numbers appeared to soar around Scotland's Inner Hebrides earlier this year, with almost four times more sightings than in previous years.

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  • Basking sharks are the world's second largest fish
    Basking sharks are the world's second largest fish
  • The Inner Hebrides are home to a wealth of rare marine life
    The Inner Hebrides are home to a wealth of rare marine life
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According to tour operator Basking Shark Scotland, a record number of sightings of the world's second largest fish have been made off the west coast of Scotland this year. The operator said that more than 700 sightings had been reported by staff and visitors between April and October 2015.

Most were spotted in the waters off the isles of Mull, Coll and Tiree. Basking Shark Scotland said 2015 had been a bumper year for the huge fish, with just 172 sightings recorded over the same period in 2013 and 250 last year.

HD Scottish Wildlife Spectacular - Basking Shark Scotland 2015

Based in the town of Oban, the same company recorded over 1,000 cetacean sightings - including whales and dolphins - as well as rarer species such as sunfish and leatherback turtles. The area is famous for its marine life, especially during the summer months when killer whales, mink whales, dolphins and porpoises flock to the small islands on Scotland's west coast.

Basking sharks are the world's second biggest fish after whale sharks, growing up to 11m (36ft) in length and weighing up to seven tonnes. The vast creatures have no teeth, instead feeding off microscopic plankton which they catch with specially adapted open jaws.

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