A group of fishermen has accidentally caught one of the rarest species of sharks known as the basking shark.
The 6.3 meter basking shark has caused quite a sensation when it got caught in the nets of Australian fishermen.
Marine biologists know very little about this rare species of shark and are quite happy for this opportunity that will allow them to study it better.
Little is known about the basking shark, which is one of the biggest species of sharks, a little smaller than the whale shark.
This big fish is not often caught swimming in the waters of the Southern Hemisphere, according to the researchers, which is why little info is known about these sharks.
The fishermen who caught the basking shark donated it to the Museum Victoria, in Melbourne, where researchers will study the animal to find out more about its genetics, life history and diet.
According to the scientists from Museum Victoria, there are only 3 samples of basking sharks and all of them are more than 80 years old.
The scientists said in a press release that they will use the shark’s head and fins in order to build a full scale model that will be exhibited in the museum.
Martin Gomon, semi curator of ichthyology at the museum, explained that these encounters with this rare species of shark can provide many missing pieces of info that will help the scientists learn more about the animal.
The knowledge acquired from studying the basking shark can help expand the biological and conservation research, Gomon added.
Marine biologists said that the basking shark moves slowly and feeds mostly on plankton. It can grow up to be 12 meters long, and unlike other species of sharks, they have tiny teeth of about 2 mm long.
These sharks feed by catching the tiny plankton and jellyfish inside their enormous mouths.
They are migratory animals and are widely distributed, however, they are seldom seen in coastal locations like Cornwall in England.
The basking sharks usually dive deep into the sea searching for food, the scientists said.
This shark was caught by accident by a fishing trawler in the Bass Strait, off the Australian mainland’s southeast.
Dianne Bray, senior collection manager of vertebrate zoology at the Museum Victoria, said that basking sharks have been seen off Australia’s Victoria state in the last years, but only in small numbers.
Image Source: independent.co.u