A GIANT 18ft long shark has been spotted lurking off the British coastline in an incredibly rare video.
A basking shark was filmed by fisherman Tony Marron as he was making his way back to shore from a fishing trip on Thursday afternoon.
Just off the coast of Tynemouth as they approached the Tyne, the crew spotted what they thought were two dolphins in the water.
Tony, from North Shields , said: “We drew in as close as we could and realised it was not two dolphins, it was actually one fish.
“It was a basking shark. Estimating the length from its tail to its dorsal fin, it looks about 16-18 feet.
“That’s a good size but they get bigger than that.”
Reaching lengths of up to 12m, Basking Sharks are the largest fish in British waters and the second largest in the world after the Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus). One of only three plankton-feeding shark species, these gentle giants re-appear in our coastal waters each spring and summer.
Despite their size, surprisingly little is known about the life history of Basking Sharks, partly because of the difficulty of conducting field research on an animal which spends most of its life out of sight, deep underwater. However, from May until late October along the west coast of the UK, Basking Sharks can be seen feeding on plankton blooms at the sea surface – this provides researchers and scientists with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about these evasive creatures.