2 giant basking sharks have washed up on the Irish coast in the past week. What is going on?

Teams from Trinity College Dublin’s Zoology Department, the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, and Cork County Council descended onto the beach at Inchydoney over the weekend in the hope of examining the washed up body of a basking shark.

A second basking shark was found washed up on another West Cork beach just 20km from the original one in Inchydoney. Ciara McCarthy, a local woman, discovered the marine giant on rocks by Harbour View beach near Courtmacsherry this week.

Nicholas Payne, Twitter: @nicklpayne

Cork Beo interviewed Dr Nicholas Payne, a marine biologist and lecturer at Trinity College Dublin.

It’s sad of course to see such a big beautiful animal like that, but it’s good to try and get something positive out of it. For us, it’s information that we can then use to help understand the animal. We don’t really know how the shark died. There was food in the stomach and it didn’t look like it had swallowed anything crazy. It’s sad that it didn’t live longer, but incredibly fascinating at the same time. The specimen was fresh, it’s unusual to find one in such good condition- usually you’ll get a rotting carcass that’s been dead for weeks.

Dr Nicholas Payne, speaking to Cork Beo
Nicholas Payne, Twitter: @nicklpayne

Basking sharks are an at risk marine species and one of biggest threats they face around the coast of Ireland is from entanglement with fishing nets, although there is no evidence of that being the case with these two in West Cork.

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