What was an accidental catch by fishermen in Australia has become an opportunity for Science. The second-largest shark found in the world, a basking shark was accidentally caught by a fishing trawler.
The basking shark gets its name due to being slow moving and enjoying time basking in the sun. The basking shark is a huge filter feeding shark which grows to be up to about 33 feet (10 m) long.
The shark which is 6.3 meters long is causing a sensation as it is not usually seen in Southern Hemisphere waters. It is smaller only than the whale shark.
The shark has been donated to Museum Victoria, located in the southern city of Melbourne. Scientists plan on using the body to research the sharks genetics, diet and life history.
The museum already has three sample of the basking shark, dating 80 years old. Scientists plan to use the head ad fins to build a full-scale exhibition model.
Rare encounters like these provide may of the missing pieces of knowledge that help in a deeper understanding of conservation and biological research, stated the museum’s senior curator of ichthyology, Martin Gomon.
Gomon stated that although a there have been a few sightings of the shark in Australia’s Victoria State over the years but never in large numbers. Basking sharks, unlike the other sharks that are loners, are usually found in groups.
A fishing trawler accidentally picked up the basking shark in the Bass Strait off the Australian mainland’s coast.
In addition to basking in the sun, this shark also tends to feed close to the surface as well. They are referred to as a filter feeder which means they move along the water with their mouth open. Their body filters out the water and they are able to consume what they find in it. A great deal of cleaning up the waters is taken care of by the basking shark in this manner. Various types of debris are completely eliminated from it when they are present, reported by Sharks World.
Martin said in a new conference “They are rare in southern waters, but not that rare in northern waters.” “We have no idea of what their numbers may be.”
The museum has been inundated with requests for tissue and other samples from around the world as opportunities to study an entire animal were rare.