Tourists aboard a whale-watching boat two miles off Capistrano Beach Thursday evening spotted two rare basking sharks — the second-largest fish of any kind in the ocean, and a species so rare there is a special hotline for sightings.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has listed the basking shark as a species of concern due to its dwindling numbers. The Register notes that while schools of basking sharks with hundreds or thousands of fish were once seen in the region, the Eastern North Pacific region now only has a few hundred basking sharks left.
The sharks are not dangerous to humans. They are filter-feeders, sifting plankton through their enormous mouths.