Great white sharks could be “occasional vagrant visitors” to waters around the British Isles, according to an expert. Richard Peirce, chairman of the Shark Trust, said the conditions and availability of prey made British waters an ideal hunting ground for the feared predator.

Peirce said: “The real surprise is that we don’t have an established white shark population, because the conditions here mirror those in parts of South Africa, Australia and northern California.

Perfectably suitable
Research has shown that white sharks tolerate water temperatures in a range which would make British waters perfectly suitable for this species, said Peirce.

Sharks in the UK
British waters are home to many species of predatory sharks including blue and mako sharks which have been spotted off southwest England in the summer and threshers and porbeagles which are year-round residents.

There have also been sightings of other sharks in British waters over the summer. Earlier this month fisherman Jim Millar spotted a 15ft (4.5m) thresher shark off Dartmouth in Devon, where they are very rarely seen.

Another fisherman caught a 300lb (21 stone) porbeagle shark off the coast of Donegal, Republic of Ireland, last month.

And there were two separate sightings of what was believed to have been an oceanic whitetip shark, a species also known to attack humans, in St Ives, Cornwall, in June, although very few shark experts believe the sightings were oceanic whitetips.

Read more:
BBC News England


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