A dead basking shark washed ashore in Bremen in early January. The Department of Marine Resources responded to calls from local residents, and marine biologists took tissue samples.
According to the website Oceana, the basking shark is the second largest fish in the world, and like the largest fish (the whale shark) and the largest animal (the great whales), basking sharks are filter feeders that eat tiny, planktonic prey.
Oceana reports the fish can grow to 40 feet long. The dead one in Bremen was estimated at 26 feet, and was first discovered by resident John Stirratt while on a walk along the shore.
“The basking shark can give an intimidating impression, but they are quite harmless,” the site notes. “They spend most of their time near the surface, swimming with their extraordinarily large mouths open, filtering out their preferred prey, but they may also make deeper, feeding dives.”