Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Basking Shark on stamps.

The basking shark is a coastal-pelagic shark found worldwide in boreal to warm-temperate waters around the continental shelves. It prefers 8 to 14.5 °C (46 - 58 °F) temperatures, but recently has been confirmed to cross the much-warmer waters at the equator.The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second largest living shark, after the whale shark. It is a cosmopolitan species, found in all the world's temperate oceans
guernsey_stamps_2005shark

The largest accurately-measured specimen was trapped in a herring net in the Bay of Fundy, Canada in 1851. Its total length was 12.27 metres and it weighed an estimated 19 short tons (17 t).
They are slow-moving sharks (feeding at about 2 knots (3.7 km/h; 2.3 mph) and do not evade approaching boats (unlike great white sharks). They are harmless to humans if left alone and are not attracted to chum.
Even though the basking shark is large and slow, it can breach, jumping entirely out of the water.The basking shark is a passive filter feeder, filtering zooplankton, small fish and invertebrates from up to 2,000 short tons (1,800 t) of water per hour.They feed at or close to the surface with their mouths wide open and gill rakers erect. 

Commercially it was put to many uses: the flesh for food and fishmeal, the hide for leather, and its large liver (which has a high squalene content) for oil.It is currently fished mainly for its fins (for shark fin soup). Parts (such as cartilage) are also used in traditional Chinese medicine and as an aphrodisiac in Japan, further adding to demand.As a result of rapidly declining numbers, the basking shark has been protected and trade in its products restricted in many countries. It is fully protected in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Florida and US Gulf and Atlantic waters.
Therefore Guernsey post chosen the Basking Shark species to depict on the Endangered species stamp series.

No comments: