smooth-hound shark
smooth-hound shark. Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons/Mark J. Fox

CATTAWADE (UK)-Imagine strolling along the river and suddenly standing face to face with a shark, 10 miles inland?. Maybe normal in tropical countries but in the UK? It happened to a walker who filmed this shark in the River Stour in the region of Essex. 

The shark, probably a smooth-hound shark, was about 5 ft long and circling in the shallow river water. It probably swam up the River Stour from mouth of the estuary, where they are commonly found, before becoming trapped behind a sluice gate after the tide went out. The UK shores are home to about 30 species of sharks. According to The Shark Trust, at least 21 of these can be found on the UK coastline all year round. None of them was ever spotted so far up river before.


Among the sharks that can be spotted throughout the year are the Smallspotted Catshark and the Basking Shark. Last week a group of blue sharks were seen off the coast of Cornwall, just five miles out. Yesterday two fishermen caught one of the biggest sharks ever caught in British waters: a 14ft thresher shark about a mile south of St Catherine’s Point on the Isle of Wight.