Great White shark off Cornish coast - a fishy story?
Respected wildlife experts have dismissed as a “scare story” supposed evidence of a Great White Shark lurking in the sea off Cornwall - saying that it is a different man-eating shark altogether.
An article claiming the feared predator could be lurking off the coast of Cornwall appears in a national Sunday newspaper today.
Experienced fisherman Nigel Hodge told how he watched in disbelief as a real-life Jaws tore apart a smaller blue shark on the end of his line 20 miles off the coast of Falmouth.
He told the paper the fearsome beast left devastating machete-like bite marks and said experts were checking whether they belonged to the legendary man-eater.
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However The Shark Trust has dismissed the fears. It said it was shown photographs of a small Blue Shark which had been bitten and asked to analyse what had caused the injuries.
Chairman Richard Peirce, along with other international experts, said they were convinced that the animal which had caused the injury was not the famous Great White Shark, star of the blockbuster film Jaws and at the centre of the occasional scare in the Westcountry.
However, he said he was convinced that the national press would run with the potentially alarmist story about the fabled shark despite the fact the bites had been identified as probably the work of a Carcharhinus or Requiem shark.
These sharks are one of the largest and best-known families of sharks growing to up to seven metres in length.
Most are voracious predators of other fish, octopus, marine mammals and seabirds and are responsible for a high proportion of the reported attacks on humans.
They are known to travel long distances and although they are very infrequent visitors to the UK waters, odd ones have been spotted between the Bristol Channel and the south coast of Ireland and in the Channel, between the Isle of Wight and the Normandy coast.
In a statement issued by the Shark Trust, Mr Peirce, was said to have recently been shown photos of a small Blue Shark which had been bitten by another shark while being reeled in by an angler off South Cornwall.
The statement added: “The photos showed clear bite marks and were examined by Richard Peirce, other members of the Trust board, and a ‘world acknowledged’ bite and dentition expert in the US.
“The unanimous view was that the bite was not caused by a Lamnid shark (eg a Great White) but by a Carcharhinus or Requiem shark.”
Mr Peirce added: “Doubtless the tabloid press will be disappointed that several experts have stated it is not a Great White Shark bite.
“Parliament is out, there’s not much news around so it’s time for the annual Great White scare story!”