The Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus), the second-largest species of shark, gets its common name from its habit of cruising serenely at the surface of the water in summer as if “basking”, although in the winter months it will be harder to find as it goes to the deeper parts of the water to find food.
Basking sharks are generally found traveling in pairs or in large groups, but are sometimes seen traveling alone. Despite its size, the Basking shark feeds only on tiny plankton, which it filters from the water using comb-like structures on its highly developed gill arches. To help it get sufficient food, the Basking shark swims along at about 5km/3mph with its huge mouth wide open, taking in thousands of liters of water per hour.
The Baskin shark has long been a commercially important fish, as a source of food, animal feed, shark fin, and shark liver oil. Over exploitation has decreased its populations to the point where some have vanished and others need protection.