Get to know second largest fish
A FREE talk telling you all you ever wanted to know about basking sharks, the second largest fish in the world, is one of the highlights of the 2008 Oban and Lorn Environment Week.
The audience will get an insight into the secret life of a fish which is mainly found on the west coast of the UK, and has increased in numbers over recent years. The event is at Glencruitten Church Hall, Oban at 7.30pm on Friday.
Shark expert Colin Speedie will also give the lowdown on the research he has been carrying out for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to find basking shark “hotspots” along the west coast of Scotland.
Mr Speedie said: “Basking sharks are fascinating. They are huge – the length of a double decker bus – but they feed entirely on plankton, tiny animals that drift through the water. These tiny creatures pass through their enormous gaping mouth and are filtered out by their comb-like gills. In an hour an adult shark filters enough water to fill a 164ft Olympic sized swimming pool. Basking sharks are most often seen in coastal areas in the summer and autumn when plankton are abundant at the surface and this is how they get their name – from apparently ‘basking' at the surface in calm, sunny weather. Many people will have seen them while out on the sea or walking along the shore."
The maximum, verified size of a basking shark is 41ft (12.4m) and a weight of 17.6 tons.
As well as funding the “hotspot” research, SNH is supporting a number of talks by Mr Speedie. It is also one of the main funders of the Oban and Lorn Environment Week and Fair.
This is the first year that the usual two day Environmental Education Fair has been extended into the week long series of talks, presentations and outdoor activities – on stargazing, bats, path clearing, beach cleaning and marine life. It runs from September 20-28. Further information is available from the Oban’s Corran Halls, Oban library, shops, the tourist information centre or at www.argyllcommunities.org/ABREEF.
The world’s largest fish is the whale shark, verified in size at up to 45ft (13.6m) long and 22tons (44,000lb).