Basking Shark Nears Extinction

The world’s second-largest fish faces many obstacles to stay alive.

The world’s second-largest fish, the basking shark, is disappearing from Canadian oceans, due in part to government programs enacted several decades ago to stop them from disrupting salmon fishing.

The basking shark had a tendency to get caught in salmon nets, so a government program was started to eliminate the basking shark from damaging this profitable trade.

Only six basking sharks have been snared in these nets over the last decade, leading many to wonder how many of these giant fish actually remain off the Canadian coast. Adding to the low numbers of basking sharks is that they take a long time to grow and mature, and the long gestation period with a limited amount of offspring.

The basking sharks have also been hunted for its liver oil, large meaty-fins and cartilage. The basking shark is listed on the international endangered species list.

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Fish · Lifestyle