Endangered Basking Shark Caught by a Trawler in the Bay of Biscay

Friday, 05 Apr, 2019

On the night of March 31, during one of Sea Shepherd's night patrols in France’s Bay of Biscay to document dolphin catches by commercial fishing vessels, our team filmed a great basking shark being pulled up in the net of a French trawler.

The fishermen were dragging a large inflatable dolphin behind their boat, probably to taunt us. After seeing the shark struggling in their net in front of our cameras, the fishermen first pulled in their fish catch before releasing the distressed shark. As it swam away, the fishermen chanted "We saved Willy!"

It’s impossible to know if the shark will survive the stress and possible injuries caused by its capture. The basking shark is a harmless species, listed as “vulnerable” according to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), one step before “endangered”.

These images confirm that dolphins are not the only victims of these non-selective fishing methods, which should be banned in areas like the Bay of Biscay which are home to protected or threatened animals.


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