Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Manx swimmers warned to 'stay away' from basking sharks

Manx Basking Shark Watch Image copyright Manx Basking Shark Watch
Image caption Conservationists said the vast majority of people had shown "great respect" for the animals

Swimmers and boat users should "keep their distance" from basking sharks around the Isle of Man coastline, police have warned.

Dozens of the sharks have been spotted during a recent spell of good weather.

The warning comes after police were made aware of someone pictured swimming dangerously close to the species, which is the world's second largest fish.

The Manx Basking Shark Watch charity said a blow from the animal's sharp tail can "cut like a knife".

According to the Shark Trust's code of conduct, boats should not move closer than 100m (328ft) and people no closer that four metres.

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Media captionBasking sharks are regular summer visitors to the Isle of Man

The sharks - which can grow to the size of a double decker bus - are regular summer visitor to the island's waters.

Police wildlife crime officer Mark Kerruish said it is an offence to "deliberately disturb" the animals, which are protected under the Wildlife Act 1990, and the law would be "actively enforced".

He added: "We're not out to spoil anyone's enjoyment, but the message is clear. Be respectful and admire them from a safe distance."

In a Facebook post, the MBSW, said: "If its huge tail hits a swimmer they would certainly be very badly injured or killed.

"Shark skin is covered with millions of shark teeth called denticles and if the leading edge of the tail hits you it will cut like a knife".

It added that the "vast majority" of swimmers had shown "great respect" for the sharks.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said: "With our UNESCO biosphere status we want everyone to enjoy the island and its wildlife, but with that comes responsibility".

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