Thursday, August 09, 2007

Australian shark experts states that UK Coast has Great White shark visitor

AN Australian shark expert has fuelled speculation that a man-eating great white shark is circling in waters off England's Cornish coast.

Local shark experts have played down fears that a shark fin spotted by holidaymakers at the popular seaside resort town of St Ives belongs to a great white.

They have insisted the animal is a smaller basking shark, and not the killer fish.

But Australian marine biologist Dave Baxter said he believed the shark was a great white, usually only found in waters off Australia and South Africa.

"That's definitely a great white, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind," he said to The Sun newspaper after reviewing video footage of the shark fin filmed by the holidaymakers.

"The dorsal fin, its dark colouration and the way the tail moves – plus its speed through the water – prove to me that it is not a basking shark.

"We are certainly looking at great white – probably an adult female, about 12-foot (3.66m) long."
Mr Baxter has studied great white sharks for three decades and was a former host of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week programs.

He said there was a chance the shark had travelled from South Africa.

"I think it is very exciting that a man-eating shark has been spotted off the coast of Cornwall," Mr Baxter said.

"There's no reason why great whites would not be in the ocean off Cornwall, especially when we know there is a seal colony around there.

"Sharks love seals. They are their favourite food – it all fits."

But local coastguards are not convinced and have dismissed fears about a great white lurking beneath the waters as "utter rubbish" and "scaremongering".


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