Home U.K Shark warning: Great Whites to move north as Mediterranean heat pushing sharks...

Shark warning: Great Whites to move north as Mediterranean heat pushing sharks towards UK


Sightings of Great Whites are few and far between in the UK – but not unheard of. Founder and Expedition Leader for shark tracker organisation Ocearch, Chris Fischer, described how it may become less and less unusual to hear reports of shark sightings.

He said: “We know that all of those animals, in the late summer and fall, once they’re over 10 feet long or so, move to an area where they can feed on marine mammal so they can bulk up for the oncoming winter.”

He commented that the sharks likely to inhabit the Mediterranean Sea will probably move from their “winter habitat”, where they “eat things like squid, fish – the odd dolphin”.

He added: “There are no seals down there.

“The water then gets too hot in the Mediterranean.

“Once it comes to spring and early summer, it’s too warm.”

Mr Fischer commented: “These white sharks don’t like hot water.

“They like cold water. They like water around 15 C, or 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

“And so, they get pushed out of the Med because it’s too hot and they move up to northern latitudes to where there’s going to seals.

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“To somewhere where they can forage in the late summer and fall to prepare for the oncoming winter.

“When you look at Europe, if a shark were to leave the Med and head north, it’s not going to really engage too many seals until it’s north of Brittany, France, because below there, it’s just too warm.

“Whether it’s the UK, Ireland, mainland Western Europe, Denmark, Southern Norway, Northern France – somewhere there, those Mediterranean white sharks are going to forage on Marine mammals in the late summer/ fall.”

Mr Fischer stressed that shark attacks were extremely rare, and the creatures typically have an “unbelievable ability to discern between us and the real marine mammal”.

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In the UK, shark sightings are infrequent, but earlier in February, a West Sussex resident spotted what he believed to be a Great White.

James Venn, a local to Goring-by-Sea, was stunned to notice a triangular fin poking out of the water on February 4.

Mr Venn believed the fin to be a seal at first sight, before realising what the shape he saw could mean.

He said: “I couldn’t make out what it was so I followed it along the shore.

“It then surfaced so I ran to grab my camera and looked out to try and see it again before taking the photos.

“At the time I thought it was a seal but when I looked at the photos again I thought it doesn’t look like a seal so it was something else.”

Looking to verify his suspicions, Mr Venn passed the photographs onto Graeme Pullen, an experienced shark fisherman.

Mr Pullen said: “Analysing the photo it is obviously a shark – this can’t be disputed.

“I’ve always thought there was a shark there as there have been so many sightings by fishermen, but James has managed to photograph the fin.”

He believes it may be a “small, immature great white who was looking for seals or bass to eat.”

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