Basking Shark

Common Name: Basking Shark
Scientific Name: Cetorhinus maximus


The basking shark is the world's second largest fish and is widely distributed in coastal waters on the continental shelves of temperate zones in both northern and southern hemispheres. Individuals take 12-20 years to reach maturity, females have long gestation periods (1-3 years) and give birth to a few, large young.

It is also one of the Isle of Man's best known protected species. As the Isle of Man is a hotspot for these amazing creatures the Manx Government and the Island's population have a special responsibility for protecting basking sharks. June, July and August are the peak months for basking sharks in Manx waters. Whilst it is great that we all have the opportunity to see this remarkable creature, there is also the potential for our enthusiasm for basking sharks to actually threaten this endangered fish


Basking shark to eat small fishes, crustaceans, fish eggs, larvae and also planktonic feeders.


Basking sharks feed completely on plankton by opening their ample mouths while swimming very slowly just beneath the surface. The slow moving dorsal fin is analytic of this animal.

Life History

Basking sharks need 16-20 years to reach sexual mellowness. Females have the longest conception period of any vertebrate at between 2-3 years extensive after which they provide birth to 2-6 pups. It also has very low hereditary multiplicity likely resulting from a population tailback in the Holocene. Late maturation, slow reproductive rate, and small number of offspring are characteristics that make this species particularly susceptible to utilization

Sharks have completely different breeding strategies from bony fishes. The Basking Shark, like most other large sharks, gives birth to a small number of large, fully developed young, which grow very slowly and reach maturity late. They are long-lived and have few natural enemies, so a small number of young is sufficient to maintain the population.


The basking shark also called as 'Sun Fish'. The basking shark is a coastal-pelagic animal, occurring in temperate coastal and cool moderate waters, but often drifting inshore.

Location or Region Found

The species is broadly distributed in northern and southern temperate waters of the Atlantic oceans and Pacific oceans, and found from brackish coastal lagoons and shallow coastal waters to the open ocean.