Largs & District Website
by Ian Dalgleish

Basking Sharks in the Firth of Clyde
Part of the skeleton of a basking shark was washed up on Largs beach near the Pencil on Friday 27 July 2007. The length was about 5 metres. The remains disappeared the following day - Saturday 28 July. It is actually illegal to possess any part of a basking shark within the UK so, if anyone out there has 'acquired' it, please return it to the beach :-)

Part of an SNH article:

'The basking shark was nominated for protection under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981, in 1987 and 1991 through the Quinquennial Review process, but failed on the basis of a lack of scientific evidence. Following the MCS's ten year campaign, support from other s and agencies, and evidence from the MCS Basking Shark Watch Scheme, the basking shark was afforded full protection under the Act in March 1998. This affords protection from intentional killing, capture or disturbance of basking sharks within British waters (up to 12 nm offshore). It is also illegal to sell, offer to sell, or possess any part of a basking shark within the UK.'

The largest vertebra was about 18 cms in diameter
Download a larger version 129 K of this photo here
Download a larger version 105 K of this photo here

Professor Geoff Moore, University Marine Biological Station Millport:

"The obvious candidate for something that large would be a basking shark or a whale of some sort."
Mike Rutherford, Curator of Invertebrates, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum:

"after a bit of searching and comparison with specimens in our collection I am fairly confident in saying it is the remains of a shark, most likely a basking shark. Whale vertebrae are more solid looking as they are bone unlike the cartilaginous shark skeleton, whale vertebrae also have processes coming off them which these appear to lack. Similar specimens are often washed up on beaches where they have been mistaken for among other things the remains of prehistoric plesiosaurs."