This film is part of Free

Basking shark off Mousehole in Cornwall

Basking shark in shallow waters off Mousehole

Non-Fiction 1967 10 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Just when you thought it safe to go back in the water, a basking shark is caught on film off the coast of Mousehole in Cornwall. The basking shark is one of three plankton-eating sharks and poses no threat to swimmers. The species is the second biggest fish after the whale shark and known for cruising along with its open mouth wide, filtering its food. They may appear in a group or school as in this film.

The basking shark follows the plankton migration and keeps to warmer waters and arrives at our temperate shores in the summer months. They are protected in some coastal waters because, at eight tonnes of fish with an enlarged liver, they are vulnerable to fishermen. The large liver retains oil and is prized in Chinese medicine and their fins are used for shark fin soup. A basking shark may grow to up to eight metres, give birth to one or two young but has no maternal instinct, once born, the young fend for themselves. The village of Mousehole is a small fishing port and lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).