Basking sharks are the second largest shark species in the world, following whale sharks

By Kelli Bender
Updated June 23, 2015 08:35 PM
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Jaws looks pretty shrimpy next to the 20-ft. giant recently caught off the coast of Portland, Australia.

The sea creature is a basking shark, the second largest fish species in the world after the whale shark. The specimen pictured below was accidentally caught by a trawler, reports CNN.

The Museum Victoria says records show that only two other basking sharks have been spotted in the area in the past 160 years, and the last time one of these swimmers was caught was back in the 1930s.

While the basking shark’s impressive size may seem threatening, these creatures aren’t out for blood. Basking sharks use their gaping mouths to eat plankton and were named for their slow-moving nature.

The two-ton male will be a big help to researchers, who don’t get many chances to see this kind of shark up close.

“These rare encounters can provide many of the missing pieces of knowledge that help broader conservation and biological research,” said Martin Gomon, Museum Victoria’s senior curator of ichthyology.

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Due to the shark fin trade, the basking shark is considered a vulnerable species and is protected in some waters.