A shiver of 50 basking sharks off Big Sur

Basking sharks on Wetpixel

On Thursday of this past week, squid fisherman Kevin Reynolds witnessed a shiver of basking sharks off the coast of Big Sur. Before basking sharks were hunted to near extinction for their liver oil, large schools of them, or shivers, were common off the coast of Monterey. Reynolds estimates he saw 50 basking sharks at one time.

This is what marine biologist Giancarlo Thomae had to say about the encounter: “I have been going on the ocean for 20 years and have only seen four basking sharks in my whole life. Because of the rarity of these animals, it is extremely difficult for researchers to tag these animals, or study them.”

The length of basking sharks averages around 25 feet. They are completely harmless to humans and filter feed close to the surface on plankton.

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