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Caithness News Bulletins September 2003

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Basking Shark Caught Off John O'Groats
Dave Simpson of Canisbay pulled in this 11 foot basking shark this evening when he was out in his creelboat 'Capricorn' off John O' Groats. The shark had become caught in a rope and was hauled aboard by Dave and crewman Mark Fraser.  It was thought to be a young shark, as the adult can grow anything up to 12 metres and weigh up to seven tonnes - larger and heavier than a double-decker bus.  It feeds on plankton, filtering 1,000 to 2,000 cubic metres of sea water - equivalent to two swimming pools - per hour.

The basking shark has tiny teeth and is harmless to man. Basking sharks often swim in groups of three or four but as many as 100 have been seen at one time.

They can be spotted off the coast of Britain during the summer. Scientists have no idea where they go in winter. Itís thought that they either hibernate near the sea floor or move to other areas of the ocean.