Outrage as video shows snorkeler jumping on top of basking shark in Co Clare

“This recent encounter demonstrates why we need to promote guidelines on how to watch and experience respectfully”

Snorkeler criticised for jumping on top of a Basking Shark in Co Clare

Johnny BrewSunday World Video Team

The Irish Basking Shark Group has criticised a snorkeler who was seen jumping into the water on top of a shark off Co Clare.

The group, which is part of a network of international researchers dedicated to studying the basking shark population in Irish waters posted the footage on Twitter.

They wrote: “This recent encounter (Co. Clare) demonstrates why we need to promote guidelines on how to watch and experience respectfully.

“The shark was feeding when first approached, stopped feeding as the boat was too close, then a snorkeler jumped into the water on top of the shark.”

They added: “We hope legislation to protect basking sharks will include a strong Code of Conduct for people near sharks to avoid this sort of behaviour in the future.”

It was recently revealed in new study how rarely observed circling formations of basking sharks in Irish waters were “speed dating” displays.

Research by marine biologists from the UK's Marine Biological Association (MBA) and the Irish Basking Shark Group reveals that the circles of basking sharks seen in recent years off the Co Clare coast are animals engaged in courtship behaviour, the first place in the world where this has been verified.

The research team captured footage of 19 circling groups using underwater cameras and aerial drones off the Clare coast from 2016 to 2021.

They found each group comprised between six and 23 sharks swimming slowly at the surface, with others below them deeper down, in a three-dimensional ring structure the researchers termed a 'torus'.

The team found that the sharks in circle formations included equal numbers of sexually mature male and females, and were not filter-feeding.

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