The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world, second only to the whale shark. Adults typically reach 6-8 m (20-26 ft) in length. The basking shark is usually grayish-brown in colour and often seems to have a mottled appearance. You can find the basking shark in all oceans of the world. However, it does prefer the sub-polar seas and the cold, temperate waters of the continental shelves.
The basking shark has a mouth that opens 1 meter wide! It does not actively seek for food or use muscles in their head to suck water. Instead, the basking shark swims with its mouth open and catches whatever goes through! Check out this video here to see how they get rid of any parasites in their food. The good news is that despite having hundreds of small teeth, they never use them for feeding. They must never get cavities when they visit the dentist!
The fishing of this shark has been very frequent for several centuries to obtain and to trade the meat, the oil, the liver, the cartilage and the fins. Even today, the oil, liver, and fins are highly valued in countries all over the world. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as vulnerable.
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