Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Basking Shark

Basking Shark (Selache maxima), the sole species of the genus, and the largest shark from the North Atlantic, a full-grown specimen being more than thirty feet long. These sharks are quite harmless unless attacked, and are taken on the west coast of Ireland for the oil extracted from the liver, a large fish yielding from a ton to a ton and a half. At certain seasons they are gregarious, and from their habit of lying motionless on the surface of the water their popular name is derived, as well as that of "sun-fish." by which they are known on some parts of the Irish and Welsh coasts. They are sometimes called "sail-fish," from their swimming slowly with the first dorsal fin out of the water.