Birth of a Basking Shark.
Very little is known about the reproduction of this shark. The only information I have found in the literature is published in the book "Northern fishes" (article from Pennant) which says that one embryo of 30 cm has been found. The announcement that I got some time ago from Mr. Hans Gokøyr (from Runde, Sunnmøre) is therefore very interesting. He wrote:
In 1936, I was on board M/b Holmeboard (O. Kvalsund shipping company, P.J. Teige as hunter) during a (basking?) shark hunting in late August. The first shark we caught was sold to the State's cooling plant for 10 öre per kilogram, 1525 kg without the skin. The second one was shot the next day north-northwest of Geitmaren, from the deepest area of Godøydjupet. It was about the same size as the first one and gave 900 litres of liver. It was towed to Teigeboden. In Breisundet, near Teigeboden, it gave birth to a five young living shark, the size of a common porbeagle shark. The "youngsters" were alive and began to swim immediately. Soon after that came a sixth one which was born dead. Soon after, three of the living pups were caught by Jonas Sørdal. The living babies did not have the instinct of being afraid of the boat. They had a (snabelliknende) snout like upper lip which was curled underneath the lower jaw. In fact, the shark (mother) was very plump before the birth, and remarkably weakened (became slim?) afterwards. To hear more about this I wrote to Jonas Sørdal who answered:
It was only one basking shark baby that I caught and it was about one and a half meter long. It did not have a yolk sac nor umbilical cord. The front of the snout was narrow with a little curve on the underside. It had 8 litres of liver. It came swimming with an open mouth as they do when they gather the food." The length information is somewhat arbitrary. A reasonable length should have been about 1.5 m, perhaps 2 m, as the "common porbeagle shark" is usually over 2 m.