Are there man-eating sharks in our waters?

Fresh round of ‘horrified onlooker’ stories appear in the press

Author: Pat
2nd February 2012
 

The UK tabloid press is hypothesising that there could be Oceanic whitetip sharks off Cornwall.

A new sighting from a mackerel fisherman is only the latest of the annual round of killer shark stories gripping the nation.

Each summer, tabloid newspapers including The Sun and the Daily Mail fill column inches with stories of Great White shark sightings around Britain.

Invariably, they turn out to be hoaxes, Basking Sharks or Porbeagles, which are native to the west coast and look similar to the Great White – albeit much smaller.

The Oceanic whitetip is found in latitudes south of the Straits of Gibraltar, although it is not inconceivable a few could stray as far north as the UK.

As an extreme example, a dead Oceanic whitetip was found on a beach in Sweden a few years ago.

However, St Ives mackerel fisherman Ian Bullus who spotted the animal said that it circled his boat several times before ramming it, “with its head out of the water by at least a foot.”

While this highly dramatic (and likely dramatised) account of a shark encounter may put the general public off, it only gives us divers fresh impetus to visit the region.

 
 
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