Police issue basking shark warning after animals 'disturbed'

Officers urged people not to get too close to the sharks after sightings across Scotland.

Police Scotland issue basking shark warning after disturbance in Moray and Aberdeenshire Getty Images

Police have issued a warning not to get too close to basking sharks after receiving a number of reports about the animals being disturbed.

The sharks, which can grow to nearly 8m in length, have been spotted in Moray and Aberdeenshire.

Officers said vessels, paddleboarders and kayakers have all been reported getting too close to the animals.

Police Scotland said it is an offence to “deliberately or recklessly disturb” basking sharks, which are a protected species.

Wildlife crime and environmental officer, constable Hannah Corbett, said: “These animals are wonderful to watch but I would encourage people to remember that they are a protected species and it is an offence to deliberately or recklessly disturb them.

“If you are out on the water and lucky enough to see a basking shark near you or your vessel, avoid making changes in speed or direction. Please keep your distance and do not chase or attempt to feed or touch them.

“If you see anything that you suspect to be causing Marine Wildlife disturbance, report it to Police Scotland by calling 101.”

Those at sea are urged to follow the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code, which can be found here.

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