The Basking Shark Project is a great way for you to get involved with Basking Shark conservation. 

You can help us learn more about these gentle giants by being on the look-out for them during May-October (Basking Shark Season). And, if you spot one, by recording your sighting on our Shark Sightings Database.

Today, Basking Sharks are one of the most widely protected and managed sharks in UK and EU waters. Yet, surprisingly little is known about them. Partly because of the difficulty in conducting field research.


On February 1st the Shark Trust hosted the Basking Shark Forum 2024, the second such event following the Global Basking Shark Summit in 2009. The Forum was an online event for researchers, conservationists, tour operators and enthusiasts alike. Over the course of the day there was a mix of presentations, Q&As and discussions covering the key updates and research from the Basking Shark community from the last 15 years. The Basking Shark forum was a great success and we are excited to see how this event can encourage future collaborations, partnerships and foster new ideas


  • Basking Sharks are the 2nd biggest fish in the world!

  • Each year, between May and October, they visit British waters.

  • Basking Sharks are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Monitoring, management and further research is vital to ensure their survival.

Every year shark enthusiasts flock to UK coasts in the hope of experiencing Basking Sharks firsthand. This provides us with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about these evasive, animals.

To increase your chances of seeing a Basking Shark, you can visit these well-known hot-spots:

  • Hebrides (Skye)
  • Hebrides (Mull)
  • Isle of Man
  • Malin Head
  • Southwest England (Devon & Cornwall).

The more we know about Basking Sharks the better equipped we are to protect them.

We share sightings data with researchers and other conservation organisations. Working together with the aim of furthering Basking Shark conservation.


Basking Sharks are extremely vulnerable to disturbance and harassment by water users. So, as part of our Basking Shark Project, we’ve created the Basking Shark Code of Conduct. By following this, you can enjoy Basking Sharks safely, ensuring an enjoyable encounter for both you and the shark.

Remember the sheer size of a Basking Shark warrants respect and caution. It's also illegal to intentionally disturb or harass Basking Sharks in UK waters. In doing so you could face up to 6 months in prison and a large fine.

Basking Shark Code of Conduct (pdf)

► Download our Basking Shark Code of Conduct (pdf)


If you spot a Basking Shark please record your sighting to us, with as much information as possible. And if you have a photo – please submit this too! That way we can verify your record.

► Download our latest Basking Shark Sightings Report (pdf)

Record Your Basking Shark Sighting


We've also working with research groups around the British Isles. Together we're using photo-identification to create a community database.

Photo-identification is a powerful and non-invasive field technique. Used to study animals in their natural environment.

We can identify many individual Basking Sharks by their unique fin markings. These can be natural, such as pigmentation marks. Or acquired, such as scars caused by parasites, or injuries from boats and fishing nets. With good quality photographs, we can recognise some individual sharks on re-sighting. And then match them on the photo-ID database. This enables us to find out more about their movements and estimate population size. This is especially important for vulnerable and highly migratory species like the Basking Shark.

View the Community Photo-ID Database

Related Links:

About Basking Sharks

Basking Shark Threats

Basking Shark Conservation

How You Can Help Basking Sharks

Banner image © Charles Hood