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Watch the moment 12ft shark is spotted swimming one mile off Cromer coast

PUBLISHED: 09:48 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 18 October 2017

This is the 12ft basking shark spotted off the Cromer coast. Picture John Davies.

This is the 12ft basking shark spotted off the Cromer coast. Picture John Davies.

Archant

A 12ft basking shark was spotted on a rare appearance in the shallow waters off the north Norfolk coast.

The second largest fish in the world is a regular summer visitor to feeding grounds on the western shores of Britain.

But it is a comparatively uncommon sight on the east coast, so beach-goers were stunned to see the ocean’s gentle giant off the coast of Cromer.

John Davies took a 37-second video of the shark on Saturday afternoon from his crab fishing boat, about one-and-a-half miles off the coast of Cromer near the lighthouse.

Basking sharks, which can reach over 10 metres in length and up to seven tonnes in weight, are the largest wild animal regularly found in British waters. Despite its enormous size, the gentle giant poses no direct threat to humans as it feeds on animal plankton, filtering 1,000 to 2,000 cubic metres of seawater per hour to extract its tiny prey.

Rebecca Worsford, PR and communications manager for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, said: “it is quite unusual to see a basking shark in this part of the east coast. They are quite common off the tip of Cornwall, the Isle of Man and the west coast of Scotland. There are a few records from Norfolk, but it is pretty unusual to see one here.

“The Basking Shark is the second largest fish in our oceans - its relative, the Whale Shark being the biggest. Despite their size, Basking Sharks actually feed on plankton which they filter out of the water, swimming slowly back and forth with their enormous mouths wide open. They are most commonly seen in the summer, when they gather in British waters.

“They are classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.”

Earlier this year, a kayaker caught a shark off Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast with his bare hands.

And then he held his catch up to his face to admire the killer of the sea as it wrestled to escape.

The unnamed fisherman was captured in a clip uploaded to YouTube.

Have you made any interesting discoveries on the north Norfolk coast? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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