Boaters are being asked to join the fight against cowboy fishermen.

Boaters are being asked to join the fight against cowboy fishermen illegally hunting the basking shark.

The shark, Britain’s biggest fish, became listed on an international protection register on 25 November forcing states which have populations of basking sharks to work with others against rogue hunters.

Motorboaters around the UK coast are being asked to report any sightings of the sharks for a register organised by the Marine Conservation Society.

Sighting report cards and posters can be ordered from the MCS or reported online.

MCS biodiversity policy officer Dr Jean-Luc Solandt said: “Basking sharks have been protected in UK waters since 1998 under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, but beyond the 200nm boundary of UK jurisdiction, the species is vulnerable to exploitation.

“This new listing should lead to co-operation between adjacent countries in whose waters the basking shark occurs, and ensure they record by-catch, implement gear restrictions and ban fishing and trade in this threatened species.”

Contact the MCS on 01989 566017 or at www.mcsuk.org