Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Wednesday, 11 June 2008 14:52 UK

Basking sharks spotted off coast

Basking shark
Marine experts believe climate change is responsible for increased sightings

Numerous basking sharks have been spotted off the Isle of Man coast in recent days.

Up to 10 sharks were sighted by more than a dozen people at varying times along the west coast on Monday.

Sightings were recorded on the Manx Basking Shark Watch website from 0700 BST at Port Erin, to just after 2100 BST at Peel.

There have been 124 separate sightings of the creatures, which grow up to 43ft (13m) long, since the start of June.

Warmer seas

The sharks, which are the second biggest fish in the world, are harmless and feed off plankton.

They are most commonly seen off the British Isles between May and September.

The number of sightings has shot up over the past few years and experts believe climate change is a factor, with the sharks following plankton from warmer seas.

According to the Manx Wildlife Trust a record number of sightings of the creatures were reported in Manx waters last year - a total of 742.

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