A 26-foot male basking shark washed up on the shore of Greenland Cove in Bremen on Tuesday morning, the Maine Department of Marine Resources told News Center Maine, WCSH/WLBZ.

State scientists took samples of the animal after being notified by local fishermen. It isn’t yet known how the shark died.

The samples will be used to conduct dietary, age and genetic analysis. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is part of the New England White Shark Research Consortium, which studies white sharks, department spokesperson Jeff Nichols told the station.

The basking shark is the second-largest shark in the world and the largest shark that lives in the waters off New England. A mature basking shark can be 20 to 28 feet in length.

They are not considered a risk to humans because they are gentle, zooplankton eaters.

They can be found throughout the world, including in the Gulf of Maine, where they come every year to feed on crustaceans and copepods.

See the full News Center Maine report here.

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