Essex County

WATCH: Basking shark surprises boaters off the coast of Gloucester

GLOUCESTER, Mass. — Some local fishermen thought they’d need a bigger boat Tuesday morning when they spotted a basking shark off the coast of Gloucester.

James Martin captured several videos of the animal swimming underneath his vessel around 5:30 a.m. this morning. Although the exact size of the shark is undetermined, Martin and his crew were surprised at just how big the animal was compared to their boat.

Officials from the New England Aquarium confirm it is a basking shark and that they’ve received lots of reports this year of basking shark sightings, especially in the Gloucester area.

The basking shark is the second largest fish in the world (besides the whale shark) and eats tiny, planktonic prey, which makes them filter feeders, according to Oceana. They can reach lengths of up to 40 feet.

Since 2004, 57 basking sharks have been tagged off the coast of Massachusetts.

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