On Saturday, September 22 2007, New York was once again visited by a shark. It would almost seem as though this is becoming a weekend event for the New York City area.
Quogue Mayor George Motz stated that a 20 foot-long basking shark washed ashore on the eastern Long Island town's beach. He added that a police officer and a bay constable tried to remove the dead shark around 8 am in the morning. Evidently, tying a rope to a roughly 1,500 pound shark and trying to drag it up the beach with a truck doesn't work well. Their removal technique failed but the high tide waters swept it back out to sea about an hour after it was found.
Basking sharks, named for their preference for lying close to the surface of the ocean, are among the world's largest fish, growing up to 39 feet long. They are a gentle giant despite their size, since they feed on zooplankton, which includes invertabrate larvae,fish eggs and plankton, a very tiny ocean organism.
They live in coastal regions worldwide and along the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to Florida. They are highly migratory, in the spring they are in the southern part of their range, while by summer they have headed north to New England and Canada.
There are only three species of large, filter-feeding fish, the basking shark is second in size to the whale shark and the megamouth is the smallest of them. They have few if any predators and are considered harmeless to the passive observer but contact with their skin can cause damage because of the dermal denticles that cover it.
The basking shark is currently listed as "vulnerable" throughout it's range and "endangered" within the northeast Atlantic ocean and the north Pacific Ocean regions. They will be included in the planned international shark fisheries management plans being created by the FAO.
For my previous posts, go here.
Of note: map indicates previous shark beachings in New York City NY