Our colleague Sardar was quite astonished when he found out of the blue a 2.5 m long Basking Shark on his screen while he was scanning video footage from a HiDef survey this summer. Fully grown they reach about 10 meters of length, making them the second largest shark species in the world. Interestingly, these gentle giants forage on microscopically small plankton that they filter out of the upper water layers with their gill rakers. In the North Sea, these enormous fish are rare guests. They mainly occur in Europe in the Irish Sea between Scotland and Ireland.
Another rare guest in German waters is the Ocean Sunfish that we found in our footage from July. Reaching a weight of up to 2.3 tons this species is the heaviest bony fish and typically inhabits warmer waters. Sunfish often lay on their sides in the water, and reflecting the sunlight with their bright flanks appear in the surrounding dark water like the sun. Their main prey is jellyfish while they have no predators to fear themselves. Their up to 6 cm thick leathery skin protects them effectively.