A couple of basking sharks were filmed swimming close to the shore in Keem Bay on Achill Island on the north-west coast of Ireland. The huge fins could be seen above the water just metres away from adults and children who were also swimming in the water.
Sandra Hayes posted a clip of the sharks on TikTok and the amazing scene has gone viral with more than 300k views and nearly 30k likes.
People can be heard in the video repeatedly saying “oh my God” as the sharks peacefully pass them by.
Astonished viewers were quick to take to the comments to share their amazement. One woman said: “What a beautiful experience so many people got to share. I love how there is practically silence apart from the OMGs in amazement.”
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Conservationists have called on the Irish government to protect basking sharks and make it an offence to disturb or harass the species under the Wildlife Act.
Jennifer Whitmore, former marine biologist, said: “Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world. Around this time every year we can catch glimpses of these majestic creatures as they slowly meander up our western coast.
“Irish people may love basking sharks and delight when they see their tall fins breaking the surface of the water, but unfortunately Irish governments have never protected them. This is especially difficult to understand given basking sharks are now an endangered species. They need our help.”