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History Of Achill Basking Sharks

What are the chances of seeing A basking Shark on one of my trips you may ask, being honest probably 0% but you never know! It takes alot of walking the headlands and sitting watching the water to really have any chance, but in your short time i will give you your best chance to see these marvouslus creatures especially if you join a tour in May or June , recently Ireland's basking shark has been given the status of a "protected wild animal" under the Wildlife Act, Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has announced.

In addition, “a collaborative code of conduct for the eco tourism and wildlife watching industry in Ireland” is to be developed to support best practice, including observation of sharks and whales spotted around the Irish coastline.

The basking shark – Cetorhinus maximus – which feeds on plankton, is a regular visitor to Ireland’s shores when the water is warmer from late spring to late summer.Keem Bay is one of the most popular and beautiful tourist destinations in Mayo. In the recent past, a basking shark fishery was located here and in Purteen Harbour.

Basking sharks were attracted by the warm waters of Clew Bay influenced by the nearby Gulf Stream, and local fishermen used to harpoon and net them.

Sharks were caught for their liver oil at first and then, when the prices for the oil declined, for their large characteristic fins and flesh which were also utilised in the Asian shark fin soup and ornamental markets.

Achill’s basking shark fishery was the best-recorded fishery in the world.

At its peak, it caught a total of 9000 sharks between 1950 and 1964; 1951 was a busy year with over 1,630 fish taken that year.

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