About 1,400 sharks detected in mysterious meeting off the east coast

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About 1,400 peregrine sharks were spotted on aerial photographs in a disconcerting meeting off the east coast of the US. UU

The unusual pilgrim sharks that eat plankton are the second largest fish in the world, surpbaded only by the whale shark. It is generally believed that they are solitary swimmers. The huge fish can reach 32 feet in length and weigh as much as five tons.

An badysis of satellite and aerial photos found hundreds of them collected in a kind of shark conference in the waters of southern New England in 2013, according to a new study. The scientist suspects that the meeting was not related to the mating. The animals were all adults or juveniles, according to research published this month in the Journal of Fish Biology.

Researchers speculate that sharks may have been in a feeding frenzy in a plankton bloom in the area before beginning their annual migration from autumn to the south. A survey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted shortly after the 2013 meeting found high concentrations of zooplankton, adding support for that theory.

Until the study, it was known that the basking sharks occasionally got together, but only a few hundred at a time in the majority and, in general, in the Pacific, according to experts.

Population estimates for the area are "in the hundreds," marine biologist Boris Worm told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "So 1,400 would not be just a large group, but a large part of the population."

Scientists found this meeting unusual by studying more than three decades of aerial photographs that were collected in studies seeking free whales from the North Atlantic. Ten significant aggregations of basking sharks off the coasts of Nova Scotia and New England between 1980 and 2013 were identified, ranging from 36 to at least 1,398, the largest ever reported.

Whatever the reason for the mysterious meeting, scientists see it as a positive sign for the species.

During the 20th century, sharks that moved slowly were hunted intensively until their population finally collapsed. They are currently protected in the United States and the United Kingdom

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