Basking shark spotted off Dutch coast

A basking shark was seen swimming around in the North Sea last week.

The second largest fish in the world - only the whale shark is bigger - was spotted in early October close to the coast at Zandvoort by a Dutch swimmer, who reported it a few days later at the biological center Ecomare.

A Belgium team of sea bird counters spotted a basking shark again last Thursday. According to conservator Arthur Oosterbaan of Ecomare, it is likely that a basking shark is also swimming around in Dutch waters.

The basking shark is an endangered species. According to Ecomare, "several dozen" basking sharks are swimming around in the North Sea. Despite their size of up to four meters, these sharks are harmless to humans. They feed on plankton that they catch with a kind of sieve.

The last time a basking shark was spotted in Dutch waters was in January of the coast of Zeeland.