Basking sharks should have better protection in Scottish waters, according to a conservation group.
The sharks feed on shoals of plankton
The call from the Scottish Wildlife Trust came as a new survey suggested increasing numbers of the creatures were being found in Scotland's seas.
The study found about 300 basking sharks from April to September, with two "hotspots" coming to light.
These are between Coll and Tiree and south west of Canna. It is thought they may be being used as breeding areas.
The past three years have seen a dramatic shift in sightings from the south of England to Scotland.
It is a phenomenon which may be linked to climatic cycles and the movement of plankton, the sharks' food source.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has called on the Scottish Executive to recognise the growing importance of Scotland to basking sharks.
It wants the executive to consider giving the "hotspots" protected status to ensure the sharks are left to reproduce successfully.