From Monday, it is an offence to hunt or injure a basking shark (without permission or licence), wilfully interfere with or destroy its breeding or resting places
The basking shark is the second biggest fish in the world.
Basking sharks are to get special protection under new regulations that have been introduced in the Republic of Ireland.
They are now protected under Ireland’s Wildlife Act.
The basking shark is a globally-threatened species, which faces a high risk of extinction.
Basking sharks are one of the largest species of the shark family.
They are the second largest species of any fish, reaching sizes in excess of ten metres and weighing several tonnes.
Each year, between May and October, they visit UK and Irish waters.
When an animal like the basking shark is protected under the act, it is an offence to hunt or injure them, unless done so under permission or licence granted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
It is also an offence to wilfully interfere with, or destroy, the breeding or resting places of such species.
The move had been announced previously, but came into effect from midnight on Monday.
Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan and Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue. made the announcement on Monday.
In Northern Ireland, basking sharks are protected under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. It makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or harass basking sharks in UK waters.