Tags: basking shark | puget sound

Basking Shark: Family Spots 25-Foot Rare Fish Off Puget Sound

By    |   Friday, 15 Aug 2014 04:52 PM

A family fishing in Puget Sound spotted a 25-foot-long basking shark, a rare sight as numbers of the once plentiful sharks have been severely depleted since the mid-1900s.

Grace Coale was the first in her family to spot the basking shark fin, which swam close enough to the boat that they could have touched it, she told Q13 News.

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“I didn’t really feel scared, just excited,” Coale said. “And just really wanted to get pictures. There was really no reason to feel afraid unless she or he knocked over the boat and I really didn’t see that happening.”

Coale told Q13 that the size of the approaching shark gave away its type.

“When I started to register how big the shark was I realized it couldn’t be a great white,” she said. “It couldn’t be a sixgill. It couldn’t be anything besides a basking shark.”

Coale sent a photo of the shark to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which requests reports of any basking shark spottings in an effort to track the small numbers of remaining sharks.

The NOAA website says basking sharks, which like many sharks have low reproduction rates, have never recovered from heavy fishing that culled their numbers in the 1900s. It is currently listed as a species of concern, a program that helps NOAA Fisheries work with partners to research endangered species and instigate on-the-ground conservation efforts.

The basking shark said is the world's second largest fish, smaller only than the whale shark, and can reach lengths of 33 feet.

Q13 said 11 shark species are found in the Puget Sound. Coale hoped that reporting about her encounter with the shark would help point out their vital role in the ecosystem and also help people be less afraid.

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A family fishing in Puget Sound spotted a 25-foot-long basking shark, a rare sight as numbers of the once plentiful sharks have been severely depleted since the mid-1900s.
basking shark, puget sound
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2014-52-15
Friday, 15 Aug 2014 04:52 PM
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