Tragic find as giant shark washes up on Ayrshire beach tangled in rope

-Credit: (Image: Yolanda McCall)
-Credit: (Image: Yolanda McCall)

A basking shark has washed up on the shore at Maidens.

Discovered last night, Sunday June 30, footage posted on social media appeared to show the creature caught in a rope.

Basking sharks are an endangered species and are known to live around the Scottish coast. It is the second-largest species of shark and can grow up to 8.5m long.

Yolanda McCall was nearby when the shark was discovered. She said: "I was staying near Maidens on Sunday evening and a friend told me there was a whale getting washed up on the beach.

"I contacted Culzean Country Park rangers and they gave me some numbers to call. I called them, and my husband also notified the Coastguard.

"It was bobbing around in the water and we couldn't tell if it was dead or alive. I wanted to try to help if it was alive and floundering, so I put on a wetsuit and got in the water to check.

"Sadly it was dead, but it looked very complete, a recent death. It was tangled in a long loop of rope, in its mouth and caught around its tail.

"Maybe it got tired trying to free itself. Very sad. A coastguard team attended and confirmed it dead. SMASS will likely come out to take samples.

"After the tide went out, we could see the full beautiful big creature. Culzean rangers and SMASS both identified it as a basking shark, the second largest fish in our oceans."

Calum Duncan, head of policy and advocacy at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Basking Sharks are the second largest fish in the ocean and enjoy feeding in our plankton-rich waters every summer.

"It is tragic to see one of these fantastic animals washed up on a beach and we’d recommend that anyone who comes across a dead marine animal to contact the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme who have teams of volunteers and scientists who will be able to take samples to work out why this incredible creature ended up on the beach.”

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said: "Just before 8.45pm on Sunday June, 30 HM Coastguard had a report of a beached cetacean at Maidens beach.

"Coastguard Rescue Teams from Girvan and Ballantrae were sent. British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the South Ayrshire Council were alerted."

Read next:

Don't miss the latest Ayrshire headlines – sign up to our free daily newsletter