PREDATOR ALERT Are there great white sharks in UK waters?

PREDATOR ALERT Are there great white sharks in UK waters?

There are more than 500 species of sharks across the world.

Great white sharks are commonly found in the Pacific waters, but what’s the likelihood of one being found in the UK?

A great white shark can grow to 20ft in length and weigh 5,000lbs - and they can live for 70 yearsCredit: Getty
A great white shark can grow to 20ft in length and weigh 5,000lbs – and they can live for 70 years – Credit: Getty

Are there great white sharks in UK waters?

A “great white shark” is thought to have been spotted lurking off the coast of Britain in February 2022.

An experienced shark fisherman said the creature seen near the beach at Goring-by-Sea in West Sussex was “obviously a shark” and it could be a “small, immature great white” searching for food.

However, as these sharks prefer warm waters, it is highly unlikely that you’d find them in British seas.

A great white shark can grow to 20ft in length and weigh 5,000lbs – and they can live for 70 years.

They are also responsible for more human attacks than any other shark species.

What sharks can be found in UK waters?

More than 40 different species of shark pass through UK waters, but only 21 of these can be found all year round.

The porbeagle is one of the most common types of shark to be spotted by British fishermen.

Its distinctive dorsal fin and long powerful body are among the characteristics that make the creature resemble a great white.

Thankfully, there has never been a confirmed case of a porbeagle killing a human, as the predators feed on smaller fish.

The basking shark is another species that regularly causes alarm in British waters.

They are the second largest species of fish, after whale sharks.

Even though the creature can grow up to ten metres long, and has a worryingly large jaw, it’s highly unlikely they will attack as they feast on plankton.

Blue sharks can also be found in British waters but they are seasonal visitors only.

Have there been any shark attacks in UK waters?

Only a few sharks pose a danger to humans and it’s extremely uncommon to find them in British waters.

There have been no unprovoked shark bites in British waters since records began in 1847, according to Shark Trust.

But there has been a number of instances where people have put themselves in harm’s way.

Fisherman Max Berryman, 21, received deep bites “down to the muscle” after hauling a porbeagle onto his boat on the coast of Cornwall in 2018, the Mirror reports.

Stephen Perkins required reconstructive surgery after becoming the first person to be bitten by a blue shark in the UK.

He pulled his catch onto his boat while fishing off the coast of Devon in 2008 when the shark sank its teeth into his forearm.

Are great white sharks dangerous?

Despite their scary reputation, great white sharks rarely attack humans.

There is no real evidence that great whites actively attack humans but they have been known for provoked and unprovoked attacks.

Attacks tend to be rare from sharks.

Where are great white sharks most prominent in the world?

Usually, the great white can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

Speaking during an expedition progress update, founding chairman of Ocearch Chris Fischer said that they believed white sharks should be “in this area for their summer and fall feeding.”

This article by Fiona Connor and Charlotte Everett was first published by The Sun on 9 June 2023. 

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