Thursday, August 02, 2007

UK Footage of Great White shark, a case of mistaken identity!

This amazing photograph of a basking shark leaping clear of the water shows what could have been mistaken for a Great White shark, according to an expert. Colin Speedie, who took this picture, is a respected authority on sharks and documents the movements of basking sharks for the Wildlife Trust.He told the Western Morning News that he had been following the news that a holidaymaker claimed to have spotted a Great White off the coast of St Ives in June.

While he was reluctant to say the grainy mobile phone footage was definitely not a Great White, he said he would be extremely surprised."Never say never, but I think it is a basking shark," said Mr Speedie. "Everything I have heard leads me to think this man has probably seen a basking shark."The footage, which was reported in the WMN on Saturday, appears to show a shark leaping out of the water - or breaching - among a pod of dolphins.

Mr Speedie said this was not uncommon behaviour for basking sharks and may be a courtship ritual.According to Falmouth Coastguard, there has never been a sighting of a Great White in the South West.They grow to an average of about 6m, a couple of metres less than the largest basking sharks. Both sharks have a white belly, although the Great White has a distinctive conical snout.However, basking sharks are harmless, whereas Great Whites are carnivorous, devouring dolphins, seals and even smaller sharks.

Before believing a Great White shark was on the loose in St Ives Bay, Mr Speedie said he would want to see supporting evidence, such as parts of seal carcasses left behind after a feeding frenzy."The nearest a Great White has been spotted is in the Bay of Biscay. If it was a Great White, it is a long way out of its normal route. This is a bit of silly season stuff."


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