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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Sharks spotted off Cornish coast
Basking Shark
Basking Sharks are seen of the South West coasts every summer
The first basking sharks of the summer have been seen off Cornwall.

Four of the creatures were spotted by marine biologist Tom Jubb on Wednesday afternoon. They were about a mile off Kennack Sands near the Lizard.

The fish, which can grow up to 15 metres, appear off the South West coast every summer.

Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world after the whale shark and come to feed on plankton in the sea.

We have this remarkable phenomenon happening here every spring
Tom Jubb, Marine biologist
Mr Jubb said: "It was amazing to be out there filming these animals in this situation.

"It was absolutely glorious weather, flat calm sea - just the stuff you see in animal documentaries in other parts of the world.

"And internationally we have this remarkable phenomenon happening here every spring."

There are concerns that the basking sharks could be in danger from plastic bags and fishing line rubbish which are in the water.

Studies are being carried out to solve the mystery of where the fish go in the winter. One theory is that they need to find deeper water to feed.

Basking sharks are a popular sight in the region and experts say the fish should be seen in their hundreds throughout the summer months off the coasts of Devon and Cornwall.

The BBC's David George
"This is one of four basking sharks seen off the Lizard yesterday...."

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