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Swimming with sharks in Scotland is number three on a list of 20 adventure holidays that Basking Shark & Swimmer. Credit Basking Shark Scotlandwere not possible 20 years ago, according to easyJet.

Wild Scotland member Basking Shark Scotland has been put above volcano trekking in Iceland and bungee jumping “like James Bond” at Switzerland’s Verzasca dam.

Owner Shane Wasik said he was “delighted” his company was listed.

He said the giant fishes’ welfare was of the “highest priority” during the guided swimming tours.

Basking sharks are the world’s second biggest fish – the whale shark is the largest – and can grow to 11m (36ft) and weigh up to seven tonnes.

They have no teeth and feed on microscopic plankton by opening wide their huge mouths.

Every summer the sharks gather in large numbers around small islands off Scotland’s west coast where they are sought out by scientists and wildlife watchers.

‘Alternative tourism’

Basking Shark Scotland’s code of conduct only allows four people at a time to go snorkelling, but not scuba diving with the sharks.

Mr Wasik said: “We’re delighted with the interest as we strive to promote Scotland’s natural assets for authentic and eco-friendly alternative tourism activities.

“There are many varied shark experiences worldwide but Scotland is unique in that it is the best place in the world to see basking sharks.

“We’ve had people from all over the world come to us to observe them from as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, US and Europe-wide.”

He added: “We have marine biologist staff and have an active science programme. Shark welfare is our highest priority.”

Scottish government-funded Scottish Natural Heritage, which promotes care for and improvement of Scotland’s natural heritage, said the welfare of the sharks and the tourists was important.

It said: “Under the Marine Wildlife Watching Code swimming with animals in itself is not illegal, but there does exist the potential to cause disturbance. Safety is another factor.”

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