Monday, 11 April 2016

First basking shark arrives in Britain month earlier than usual after record warm winter

Danny Boyle 7 APRIL 2016 • 12:47PM

The first basking shark of the year has been spotted off Britain's coast a month earlier than usual after the warmest winter on record.

A group on a sailing trip off Penzance, in Cornwall, saw the 16ft-long animal (5m) on Wednesday evening.

The basking shark is a seasonal visitor to UK waters and is normally never seen until the end of April or early May, before arriving in significant numbers as warmed water arrives from the Atlantic until October each year.

Experts believe the unusually early sighting - believed to be one of the earliest ever - is because of Britain's mild, but wet winter that lead to warmer seas.

She said: "It is certainly our first of the year and I have not heard of any others in the UK so far in 2016.

"It is our earliest yet. In the last couple of years we have seen some towards the end of April and even then that was early compared to previous years.

"In 2006 when we spotted thousands we did not see the first until June.

"The shark was in Mounts Bay a couple of miles from the coast. It was during an evening sail when we spotted it,"

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