A shark sighting near the Cape Neddick Lighthouse in York on Monday morning prompted local officials to issue advisories for the town’s beaches as a cautionary measure.
A video taken by Cassandra Constantino shows the shark swimming near the surface of the ocean by the Cape Neddick Lighthouse — commonly referred to as Nubble Light — which neighbors Long Sands Beach.
Dr. James Sulikowski, Marine Biologist and Professor from the University of New England, identified the animal as a basking shark in a Facebook message posted by the York Police Department.
Basking sharks are the second-largest sharks and can reach up to 26 feet in length. They do not pose a threat to humans because they are filter feeders, thus they do not bite their prey.
Basking sharks also have large, rounded dorsal fins, while the dorsal fin of a great white shark has a more pointed tip.
The York Police Department issued cautionary advisories for the town’s beaches — which include Long Sands Beach, Short Sands Beach, York Harbor Beach and Cape Neddick Beach — though all remain open.
“We appreciate the public’s vigilance in reporting such sightings and would encourage you to continue that vigilance as you enjoy the ocean and beaches this summer,” the York Police Department wrote on Facebook.
Shark attacks are exceedingly rare. In 2018, the International Shark File found only 66 unprovoked shark attacks in the entire world, which was lower than the most recent five-year average.