Saturday, August 13, 2005

Man-eater shark sighting 'error'

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Basking shark: picture source

Amorous basking sharks are being blamed for a spate of sightings of potentially dangerous mako sharks off Cornwall. A second suspected mako - Maori for man-eater - was seen off Bude in the north of the county on Tuesday night.

A fisherman said he saw a 12 to 15ft-long mako - the fastest fish in the sea - leap out of the water.

But a shark expert told BBC News that he suspected harmless male basking sharks, seen nearby in the morning, were showing off to female mates [...]

The record for the biggest fish ever caught off the UK was a mako, hooked off Plymouth in 1971 and there were confirmed sightings going back to the 1950s.

But makos were still a rare find and if they did visit the area, they would normally remain off-shore, hunting for food.

Mr Herdson is convinced that a previous sighting of a mako, which led to surfers being called out of the water at Gwithian on 20 July, was not a mako, but a basking shark.

"There is nothing to be afraid of. Out of all the thousands of shark attacks in the world, only eight have ever been reported as a mako," he said.

"What we have to remember is that these sharks are highly specialised fish-eaters, not man-eaters. There has never been an unprovoked shark attack in UK waters."


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mako shark: picture source


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