Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Small Adult Basking Shark Washes Up On Beach in New York

A 20-foot-long basking shark washed ashore on a Long Island beach on July 14, 2009. Photo courtesy of CBS.

A 20', 5,000 pound basking shark washed up on a Long Island beach July 14, 2009, reports CNN. This shark may seem large; but, basking sharks can reach a length of 35' and weigh up to 7 tons (14,000 lbs), making this one quite small - probably a very young adult.

The shark died shortly after authorities arrived on the scene. The cause of death is unknown, although the possibility of a boat strike has been ruled out.

A full-grown basking shark is second in size only to the whale shark. In summer and autumn months, the species is a common sight in the surface waters off the USA's eastern seaboard. Basking sharks migrate south for the winter, feeding on plankton and small fish off the coast of South America.

Despite being so intimidating looking, the basking shark is harmless to humans. Basking sharks are currently listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List due to overfishing for its fins used in shark fin soup.

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