RECORD NUMBERS of basking sharks have been spotted off the coast of Britain and Ireland after the recent hot weather boosted levels of their favourite food: zooplankton. Last year there were only 26 sightings of the 11-metre sharks in two and a half months off the most southerly headland of Cornwall. This year more than 900 sightings have been recorded since the beginning of June. Volunteers have also recorded sharks breaching the surface of the water five or six times. "That is VERY RARE." Off the coast of Ireland, a RECORD NUMBER of sightings was also recorded in June, with 248 basking sharks counted last month. Conservationists believe one of the reasons for the high numbers could be unseasonably warm weather increasing the amount of zooplankton. Around the coast of the Isle of Man, another basking shark hotspot, 400 sightings have been recorded since the beginning of May. They have also been turning up in unexpected places this year.
The moon jellyfish has appeared in larger than usual numbers around the British and Irish coasts in the past few weeks, sometimes in blooms over 500 strong. The bigger barrel jellyfish, which can reach a metre in diameter and weigh up to 40kg, has also been seen in UNUSUALLY high numbers. A "superpod" of about 1,500 dolphins was seen last week off Pembrokeshire.