At least 21
species of sharks have been recorded in British coastal waters. In
addition at least 12 species of Skates and Rays, one species of Stingray
and two species of Electric Rays also live in the shallow seas surrounding
Britain. Other species occur in deeper water.
& Ray News (NE
extraordinary find of a small shark
with sharp spiny teeth was washed ashore dead at Hope
Cove, south Devon, south-east of Plymouth. The discovery on the sand
and rock beach by Steven Greenfields,
puzzled the experts at first as it was not on the list of sharks ever discovered
in British seas before. However, it had some rather distinctive features
including a white patch forward of its long gill slits, and with its distinctive
teeth and shape of the caudal fin, there could really be no doubt it was
the first ever British record of the Crocodile
This shark is
an inhabitant of much warmer tropical seas, oceanic over deep waters to
depths of 590 metres, rising to 200 meters or less at night, and in all
tropical oceans but not a common species and classified as Near
It's nearest natural habitat is the Canary
It is a puzzle of how it arrived as the sea temperature is thought to be
too cold (usually limited to a low of 20°C) for it to have swam all
water species of shark
was caught in Scottish seas by scientist from Marine
Scotland. The False Catshark
sometimes known as a Sofa Shark,
microdon, is the 72nd species of elasmobranch
recorded from around Scotland. The 2 metre long 60 kg shark was caught
close to the Isle
of Barra in the Outer
Hebrides. This bottom dwelling shark would
be normally be expected to live at depths of 1000 metres or more.
details are available of where it was caught. It may have been in the Irish
large stocky angel shark was formerly a common and important demersal predator
over large areas of its coastal and outer continental shelf sediment habitat
in the North-east Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Seas. It now appears
to be absent from the English Channel where it was caught as recently as
shark is classified as "Critically Endangered".
List entry OSPAR
two metres long Shortfin Mako Shark,
oxyrinchus, was washed ashore dead on
the vast sandy shore at Barmouth,
Bay, west Wales.
of the the Mako
and Porbeagle, Lamna
nasus, is difficult and I determined
it to be the rarer Mako
from the shape of the first dorsal fin lacking a white patch. It is difficult
because of the pointed snout and position of the secondary dorsal fin I
first thought it was a Porbeagle.
Teeth may indicate a Porbeagle?
& Mako ID
large streamlined Shortfin
was hooked by Andy Griffith
30 miles off Milford
Haven, SW Wales. This dangerous shark leapt three metres into the air
off the stern of the boat before Andy
with the help of his crew mates managed to land the two metres long shark
after a fight lasting 40 minutes. Great care was taken to ensure the safety
of angler and crew as large specimens of this shark have been identified
in fatal attacks on humans. The 90 kg
shark was landed and then released. This is
the first record off the Welsh coast.
this fish is very similar to the more often encountered Porbeagle
nasus. The ID is usually confirmed
by the teeth.)
Sandtiger Sharks have been caught at widely
scattered locations throughout the world, indicating a possibly circumtropical
distribution. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it is known from the Bay of
Biscay south to Morocco, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Azores, and
the Canary Islands.
exceptionally large Porbeagle
nasus, was caught on road and line by Wayne
Comben and Graeme Pullen
and released 300 metres off Boscastle,
north Cornwall. It was measured at about 10 ft (3 metres) long with a girth
of about 2 ft (60 cm) which experts think was likely to be a pregnant female
with an estimated weight of 550 lb (250 kg) and this would have
exceeded the previously largest shark caught by an angler in British seas
beating the previous 1993
world angling record for the species of 230 kg. The shark
towed the small boat for a mile before it was hauled alongside. Even if
it was possible to land the fish on to the boat, the Porbeagle
is now a protected species under European
Union (European Commission
on Fisheries) legislation.
angler Andy Logan
reeled in a huge 100 kg*
after a two hour fight with the giant fish off Rathlin
off the north County
Antrim coast of Northern Ireland. This specimen was about 2.4 metres
(8 ft) wide and 1.8 metres (6 ft) long. Specimens
this size of the endangered
Skate are about 60 years old. The
was returned to the sea. (*Reported weight
and size, not verified.)
two metre long Blue Shark, Prionace
glauca, was washed up alive on to
the beach at West
Bay, Dorset, and hauled back into the water by Jeannette
Longley, but it was found dead on the shore
at Burton Bradstock
European Union (European
Commission on Fisheries) officially extended measures to protect threatened
from fishing. Under the amended Regulation, fishing for Porbeagles is now
prohibited in all EU waters, including the Mediterranean Sea, and by EU
vessels fishing in international waters. In addition, if Porbeagles are
caught accidentally, they must now be released immediately.
nasus, with a reported weight of nearly 300
kg) was caught by Don McCloskey
on rod and line off Fanad
Head, Donegal, Northern Ireland. (No measurements
of the shark were included in the report.)
Crane received a shock when he landed a 4.95
kg (10 lb 14 oz 11 dram) female Marbled
Seager’s ‘Out of Blue‘,
while fishing about three miles to the east of Sark,
Channel Islands. The electric ray had a total length of 58.6 cm and
a disc width of 41.5 cm. The electric ray took a whole Black
Bream, Spondyliosoma cantharus,
presented as bait.
May 2010 onwards
of the first Basking Sharks,
of the year are spotted off Land's End, Cornwall.
heard a brief splash as three of the twelve sharks breached the surface"
recreational angler caught a 26.76 kg (59 lb exactly) female
pastinaca, in shallow water near Vermerette
off the west coast of the island of Herm,
Channel Islands, (about 400 metres from Herm harbour) from a boat. The
ray had a total length of 124 cm and a disc width of 76 cm.
stomach of the fish contained about 20 well digested Sandeels
and some small shrimps
(it is a bottom feeder.) The liver weighed 4859 grams (10.7 lb).
ray would have broken the British record of the fish had been caught from
newly born (neonate) Porbeagle Shark,
nasus, was caught and released by a young
angler off the Great Bank off the east coast of Guernsey,
(father of the angler) wrote that the neonate shark weighed about 7 kg
(15 lb) and was about a metre long. It was caught at 4.30
pm out from Fermain Bay.
Porbeagle Sharks usually
produce two young per uterus (four in total per litter) after a long gestation.
The embryos are oophagous. The mother only fertilises two eggs in each
uterus but she produces copious amounts of eggs during gestation, which
the developing embryos eat. The embryos have sharp teeth to tear the skin
of the eggs apart. The developing embryos have a large abdominal yolk sac,
which they absorb during development. During the colder months Guernsey
fishermen catch Porbeagle Sharks occasionally.
The captured adult females usually carry embryos. It appears that
Channel Island waters are a nursery ground for Porbeagle Sharks
there is evidence that Porbeagle Sharks
of Embryos (by Richard Lord)
caught Blunt-nosed Six-gilled Shark,
griseus, was caught about three miles off
Loop Head and
landed on board the Clare Dragoon
out of Carrigaholt,
Clare, south-west Ireland. The fish which weighed in at 480 kg, (1056
beats the existing European angling record which stands at 466 kg and was
landed in the Azores.
Shark is an active shark found in seas of
between 200 to 1000 metres deep. These depths occur only off the Continental
Shelf to the south and west of the British Isles. Between 1960 and 1984,
at least 31 specimens have been recorded off west Scotland, south-west
Ireland, the Faeroe Bank, and west of Ireland down to 964 metres. The majority
of reports are from the main fishing areas along the shallower slope on
both sides of the Rockall Trough, which is the 1000 metre deep trench that
runs between the Rockall Bank and the Irish coast. This very deep trough
extends from Iceland down to the Bay of Biscay.
rare female Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo
marmorata, was captured in a trawl
net by Worthing fisherman Brian Davey about
eight miles off Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. The
ray which was about 60 cm long and can deliver a 220 volt electric shock.
It was kept alive found a home at Brighton
Sea Life Centre.
the early hours a large Stingray,
pastinaca, was caught by an angler Ken
Canning off the beach at Pagham
Harbour, Sussex, and released back alive. It weighed between 65 lb
and 72 lb; this should be a BR
(R-C) FC record.
magnificent fish which was probably around 72 lb as that’s what
it weighed first time but it slipped of the sheet. When weighed second
time it was still touching the floor but we were concerned with the health
of the fish so settled on 65 lb 2 oz then returned it.”
five metre long Thresher Shark,
vulpinus, was landed at Newlyn
Fish Market and was caught by skipper of the
Roger Nowell, whilst trawling for squid and
John Dory off Land's End, Cornwall. It weighed weighed
510 kg (1,125 lb) and was the heaviest
on record landed at Newlyn. Comparatively,
the angling record
fish weighed 146 kg. Commercial fishermen have landed Thresher
Sharks up to 400 kg before.
astonishing 462+ Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus
maximus, were seen in the morning between
Longships and The
Brisons, off the west of the Cornish mainland! Accompanying the
sharks were many Gannets,
suggesting that fish and plankton would have been present. Also, in much
the same place (10 km sq. SW 33) between
20 and 24 Risso’s Dolphins, Grampus
griseus, and 35 Common
DolphinsDelphinus delphis, were
a 3 metres long Thresher Shark,
that had become entangled
in his salmon nets, 200 metres off Filey,
near Scarborough, Yorkshire. Thresher Sharks
a pelagic species that are occasionally seen inshore in the English Channel,
but are much rarer in the North Sea and the last one reported from off
the Yorkshire coast was over 80 years ago. The length includes its abnormally
long tail that it uses to strike or thresh fish.
small (3 to 4 metres long) Basking Shark, Cetorhinus
maximus, was seen by Edward
Murray off Picklecombe Fort at the western
entrance to Plymouth Sound around 2:30 pm.
It was circling, apparently feeding.
Lee Allen and Gary Cann caught a 95 kg (210
nasus, in a net set for Bass
over night in St Ouen's Bay (west coast of Jersey), half a mile off the
beach. In the weeks previously several Bass
had been bitten in half in their nets. The fish was sold for over £200.
It is unusual for Porbeagle Sharks
to be caught in the winter months, and and they are usually caught in the
summer in the southern part of the English Channel.
13 October 2006
angler Anton Kristiansen
was out fishing with Turid Kvammen
at Smøla, off the coast of Nordmøre, northwest Norway when
he hooked and landed a Bluntnosed Six-gilled
Shark, Hexanchus griseus, called
Norwegian. It measured 2.5 meters long and weighed 120 kg (264 lb).
shark is a large deep water predatory species that is rarely caught by
commercial fishermen and even less often by anglers. The British Isles
angling catch was caught off Ireland. Hexanchus
griseus have six gill slits (the majority
of sharks have only five gill slits) and with only one dorsal fin set near
the tail it is most distinctive.
Elliot and myself have recorded large numbers
of Basking Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus,
off West Cornwall in perfect sea conditions
throughout the day. Because of movement between the morning and evening
it is hard to be exact on numbers but involved a minimum of 60 animals
and a maximum of 100.
four egg cases of the endangered
were discovered on the Sandside shore
near the Dounreay
nuclear power plant, Caithness, west of Thurso and Scrabster
Harbour and John
o'Groats on the northernmost coast of mainland Scotland, the first
records reported to the Shark
Trust and the first records on the
mainland Scotland since these egg case occurrences have been recorded.
Cases of the Common Skate
egg cases measured between 23 to 28 cm long and 13 to 16 cm wide in a dried
state and the first seventeen were discovered in a 15 minute along the
the egg cases are placed in water they expand
kg of Common (or Blue) Skate, Dipturus
batis, wings (pointed snout and grey underside) were landed on
Plymouth Fish market. They were caught by the Plymouth-based beam
trawler M.F.V. Joy of Ladram,
which was said to have been fishing in deeper water "out to the west",
the catch also included Witches
shark landed at Plymouth dockside was a 118 cm (TL) female Bluntnosed
Six-gilled Shark, Hexanchus
griseus, caught on longline due west
of Cornwall (50°N 8°W). This is a deep water predatory shark
of the most extraordinary shark tales involved the discovery of a tropical
longimanus, that had badly lost its way and was discovered swimming
around a warship in a brackish water fjord near Gullmarsfjorden in west
Sweden. It died shortly afterwards. The shark, a male, was 230 cm long,
(total length), and weighed 65.65 kg. This is the first record in northern
European seas and it has never been discovered around the British coast.
A Swedish Museum in Gothenburg has now the shark for further examination.
White-tip Shark is found worldwide in epipelagic
tropical and subtropical waters between 20° North and 20° South
latitude. Its range is from Portugal to the Gulf of Guinea in the eastern
Atlantic. There are a few records from the Mediterranean Sea. It lives
in sea temperatures above 21° C. It is usually found over deep water
a long way from the shore. It is known to associate with Pilot
Whales and may follow boats or ships if a
constant food source is available. This shark has a reputation for attacking
could the shark have arrived in the fjord? The speculation could involves
man's activities as a discard from a deep water fishing catch?
shark appears to be a Porbeagle Shark,
nasus. There is a population of this large predatory shark in the North
Sea. Their occurrence may match the Salmon
on which they prey. Specimens washed up dead on the beach are unusual.
Cornish long-line fishermen has caught a total 115
nasus, on two long-line fishery trips to
their feeding grounds off Cornwall. The largest one weighed 60 kg (132
lb), but is unclear if this was the weight before on after it was gutted.
It was two metres long, probably including the tail fin. These look like
a pre breeding stock of Porbeagles with females that do not attain maturity
until they are two metres in length. This mass capture has raised the ire
of environmentalists as the large species of sharks and even some of smaller
species like the Angel Shark,
squatina, are vulnerable to excessive fishing. In the 1960s the Newfoundland
fishery for Porbeagle was seriously overfished as ceased as a commercial
activity. Hundreds of Porbeagle Sharks are caught off northern France each
News Report BMLSS
117 cm pup long of a Blunt-nose Sixgill
Shark, Hexanchus griseus,
was landed at Mevagissey, south Cornwall. The shark weighed 6.3 kg before
gutting. The Bluntnosed Sixgill Shark
is principally a deep water species, usually found offshore and near the
bottom at depths of up to 1,800 metres. Young specimens can however
occasionally be found inshore in cold water at depths as shallow as 25
- 50 metres, especially near rocky coasts or islands where deep water occurs
Shark pups measure 65 cm - 70 cm at birth
and can grow up to at least 4.8 metres (over 15 ft) long. This grey coloured
sharks is unusual in that compared with most species of shark, they have
an extra pair of gills. Females are thought to have 22 - 108 pups per litter.
divers, one of them a commercial fisherman, came across an unrecognised
shark lying stationary on the bottom near Alderney in the Channel Islands.
It was over a metre long and it was not any of the common shark species
normally found around the islands.
looked in the book and came up with unlikely match of the Nurse Shark,
cirratum. They said the shark remained motionless on the bottom. The
body appeared dark grey with no markings.
tropical species has never been recorded in British seas although Gerald
Jennings (Calypso Publications) reports a record from Portugal.
large (15 kg) Stingray, Dasyatis
pastinaca, caught off Helford, Cornwall was landed at Newlyn.
A small (15 cm) Marbled Electric Ray,
marmorata,was caught in a
crab pot off Freathy, Whitsand Bay, south-east Cornwall. Both fish are
quite rare for the south-west.
young (1.5 metre long) Thresher Shark found at Gunwalloe Fish Cove, on
the Lizard, Cornwall has been confirmed as a Bigeye
Thresher Shark, Alopias superciliosus.
This is the first record of this species from shallow British waters.
Chadwick reported a rare deep water shark
with the name in the book as the Frilled
Shark, Chlamydoselachus anguineus. It was landed in Killybegs,
County Donegal, Ireland, by Michael Flannery,
on board the Emerald Dawn (out of Kerry I think). This specimen (one out
of 3) was sent to the Museum of Natural History in Dublin for examination.
These animals were caught as part of an on going deep sea survey in search
for commercially viable deep water species run by BIM (Board Iasca Mhara).
All the information was confirmed by John
Hackett of BIM.
sleek lines of 4 Blue Sharks, Prionace
glauca, were seen 7 miles off the Bishop's
Rock, off the westernmost tip of Cornwall. Fish is thrown overboard to
attract Wilson's Petrels and other sea birds and the sharks arrive.
Ray, Torpedo nobiliana, was caught,
whilst fishing for Nephrops (Scampi), 8 miles north of Lossiemouth,
Moray Firth, NW Scotland, by the Banff registered vessel "Charisma". The
ray immediately made one of the crew aware of it's identity by giving him
an electric shock. It has found a temporary home in the MacDuff
Public Aquarium but it is not on public display because of the danger
to the public in their open ray tank. It will be returned to sea. This
species is the commoner of the two species of Electric Ray found around
Britain (the other one is the Marbled Electric Ray, Torpedo marmorata);
both are generally southern species and are much rarer further north. This
species is one that divers should be warned not to touch, if they spot
a ray swimming in mid-water. Most records from British seas are in the
summer and autumn.
by Witek Mojsiewicz (Aberdeen)
Porbeagle Sharks, Lamna nasus, have been spotted cruising by
the south west Casquets bank north of Guernsey, Channel Islands, leisurely
robbing long-lines set for Bass by biting the fish in half, with gapes
of about 12 cm in the prey.
Sharks, Cetorhinus maximus,
were seen from the ferry
Scillonian on its way from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly . On 28
April 2000, a Basking Shark was trapped in Penzance lock until it
was released at high tide.
first Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus,
of the summer was seen in Booby's Bay, Cornwall. The 3 metre plus shark
(10-footer) was spotted by Clive James, from the National
Marine Aquarium in Plymouth. Last summer the same stretch of coast
was the scene of spectacular visits by groups of Basking
Marine Aquarium, Plymouth) spotted a 5 metre long Basking
Shark feeding in S. Mounts Bay, SW Cornwall. Basking Sharks are
normally only seen in summer and are meant to stop feeding during the winter.
Winter reports can be found on the list collated by Ray