Alex Albrecht filmed a basking shark swimming by the boat he was on as part of an oceanographic research program near New England and posted the clip to TikTok, where it has over 51 million views

By Kelli Bender
June 03, 2021 04:58 PM

A massive shark captured in a student's TikTok video is causing a stir online.

According to NBC affiliate King 5, Alex Albrecht was on the tail end of a six-week hands-on oceanographic research program with Massachusetts' The Sea Education Association when he spied something large and looming in the water around the boat while it was 100 miles out from Woods Hole.

"I first thought it was a whale," Albrecht told NBC Boston. "Then its big tail went 'swoosh' to the side, and I was like, 'Shark!'"

Albrecht, who happened to be filming the view from the research ship's mast when he spotted the shark, captured the large creature on film and posted the shocking video to TikTok, where it now has over 51 million views.

In the clip, the lengthy shark slowly and smoothly swims by Albrecht's boat through the clear water while the students aboard react in awe.

The first reaction of many viewers may be one of fear because the giant animal resembles a great white shark, but the students aboard the ship had nothing to fear. The sea creature that appears in the clip is a basking shark.

large shark

"They are filter-feeding sharks, so it's eating little krill and plankton, which means it won't be chomping on any humans," Albrecht told King 5 about the shark species, which is the second-largest shark species in the world.

"For someone like me who loves the ocean and loves the idea of biodiversity and conservation, it was an incredible treat to see that in person, and I hope the people who see the video are curious to learn more and to conserve what we have going forward," the marine biodiversity student added.