Fisherman Stunned as Basking Shark Swims Past on Welsh Coast

A fisherman was left awestruck when a basking shark, the world’s second-largest species of fish, swam close to his boat on the west coast of Wales on Sunday, July 17.

Alex Nel, a farmer and fisherman living in Pembrokeshire, said he captured this video as the shark approached his vessel near Strumble Head in Cardigan Bay.

Startled by the sight, Nel uttered some profanities as the shark came near. “What the f***? It’s a f****** shark!” he exclaimed.

“Sorry about the language, I was a little surprised to see a basking [shark] just casually swimming across the surface of the sea,” Nel wrote alongside the video on his Facebook page called “The Nel’s Farming Life,” where he and his family share videos and photos of their life in the Welsh countryside.

Nel estimated that the shark was about 14 feet long, as it was “a couple of foot shorter” than his 16-foot boat.

Despite its large size, local experts believe the shark was a juvenile.

Lloyd Nelmes, a marine biologist at Sea Trust, a wildlife conservation charity in Pembrokeshire, reposted Nel’s video in a Facebook group called “Pembrokeshire Porpoise, Whale, and Dolphin Sightings,” and described it as showing a “beautiful little basking shark.” In replies to the post, Cliff Benson, the founder of Sea Trust, said the shark looked small enough to be “almost newborn.”

According to the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum, basking sharks can grow up to 39 feet (12 meters) in length, and weigh up to six metric tonnes. The sharks appear in British and Irish waters between May and October.

“Basking sharks are usually solitary, but sometimes they swim in single-sex shoals, generally containing no more than a few individuals,” the National History Museum says. Credit: The Nel’s Farming Life via Storyful

Video transcript

- What the [MUTED]?

- It's a [MUTED] shark!

- [MUTED] me. What the [MUTED]?

- It's a [MUTED] shark!

- [MUTED] me.

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