JUST when you thought it was safe to go back in the water…

We don’t usually spot Jaws-sized Great Whites off our British coastline but there is an array of shark species swimming in our surrounding seas.

Contrary to popular belief, plenty of sharks reside around the coasts of Britain.

There are more than 400 species of shark around the world with at least 21 species found in British waters all year round.

Some sharks also visit the UK during certain months including the basking shark, one of the largest fish in the ocean.

“Cornwall, outstretched as it is into the mild, oceanic currents of the North Atlantic, is Britain’s unofficial shark capital - both for attracting seasonal, visitors of the shark kind, and plenty of tourists to document the evidence but Devon, the west coast of Scotland and Ireland all have their own hotspots,” writes National Geographic.

It’s worth pointing out that none of Britain’s native shark species are considered to be dangerous.

In fact, not a single unprovoked shark attack has been recorded in British waters since records began in 1847.

However global warming may mean we see great white sharks driven towards the UK.

“White sharks are considered to tolerate temperatures from 5-25C so the perennial question is why do we not see them in UK waters already?” asks Ali Hood, The Shark Trust’s conservation director.

She told the Independent: “The closest verified sighting was in the top of the Bay of Biscay, but there has been no confirmed sightings of white sharks in UK waters despite suitable habitat.”

And with so many of us holidaying in the UK this summer, we have taken a look back at shark encounters from the past.

Basking shark spotted off Torquay

News and Star: The basking shark was spotted in Torquay Marina (Torquay Water Sports/PA)The basking shark was spotted in Torquay Marina (Torquay Water Sports/PA)

In April, the second largest fish in the world was photographed by paddle-boarders in Torquay Marina.

Members of Torquay Water Sports described it as an “amazing sight”.

“A basking shark popped in for a look around and then slipped back out again… almost unnoticed,” they said.

“An amazing sight indeed.”

The shark was also spotted by members of the RNLI, who estimated it to be between 10ft and 12ft in length.

A RNLI Torbay spokesman said: “The largest fish in British waters, basking sharks are typically anything up to 28ft and can weigh 9,000lb.

“No need for panic though – their main food is plankton and they don’t bother humans.”

Huge 21 stone shark caught off Portland

News and Star:

The pair of porbeagle sharks - a relative of the deadly Great White - were caught by anglers Adam Carter and Matt Mizen about seven miles off Portland. Images: BNPS

TWO huge sharks weighing more than 500lbs were caught off the south coast, about seven miles off Portland back in 2019.

The pair of porbeagle sharks - a relative of the deadly Great White - were caught by anglers Adam Carter and Matt Mizen.

Adam's catch measured about 8ft long and weighed more than 21 stone while Matt's specimen was thought to weigh more than 14 stone.

Adam, a 41-year-old plasterer from Weymouth, said he was left feeling exhausted following a 1 hour 45 minute fight to reel in his monster shark.

Even after reeling it in, the shark was far too big to lift on board so Adam brought it alongside to photograph and measure it before releasing it safely and well.

Along with blue sharks, porbeagles are the most common species of shark found in British waters.

Thrasher shark near Lyme Bay

News and Star:

Picture: TomBrereton/BNPS

A group of tourists were stunned when an enormous thresher shark jumped vertically through the air before slapping its elongated tail on the surface of the sea at Lyme Bay.

Thresher sharks are usually found in the warmer waters of the mid-Atlantic but this 15ft long predator, which weighed about 350lbs, appeared about 30 miles south of Lyme Regis.

The hugely-rare sighting was witnessed by a group of 10 nature lovers on a charter boat looking for dolphins.

An endangered species, thresher sharks are so named because of their exceptionally long, stream-lined tails which whip or stun shoals of fish underwater at a speed of up to 30mph.

They are not normally harmful to humans, although they can cause serious injury with their thrashing tails.

Six huge sharks off Portland

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HUGE BEAST: The aggressive looking beasts are said to be harmless to humans. Picture: Big Buoy Charters

Anglers captured the the incredible moment they caught six huge sharks off Portland’s coast.

Paul Burridge and Peter Targett, of Big Buoy Charters based in Weymouth and Portland, were out with three customers on a charter fishing trip in October, 2017, when they made the catch.

During nine hours at sea, the group managed to capture six porbeagle sharks in waters south of Portland Bill, with a man on board the boat wrestling with one shark for over half an hour.

Porbeagle sharks, from the same family as great white sharks, can be found around the UK in deep waters.

Despite being described by the Shark Trust as “large, powerful sharks” with “sharp teeth and abrasive skin,” porbeagle sharks are not considered harmful to humans and rarely come to shore.

Shark swimming in Poole Harbour

It wasn’t quite a scene from Jaws. But visitors to Poole Quay this weekend were still shocked to see a member of the shark family swimming in the harbour.

Chas Kirkby, a dockmaster for Cobbs Quay Marina, filmed the smooth-hound shark on his phone when it visited the harbour in 2015.

The small grey-brown smoothhound shark can be identified by its pointed snout and pair of large and equally-sized dorsal fins. It typically has white spots on its back and sides and can grow up to 1.6m long.

Its diet is made up primarily of crustaceans, shellfish and molluscs and it’s more commonly seen in the south and west of England.

Basking shark at Chesil Beach

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A basking shark spotted at Chesil Beach. Picture: Weymouth Angling Centre

Basking sharks are one of the largest species of fish in the world and back in 2019, one was unusually spotted off the coast of Dorset.

A video captured the moment that the shark made an unusually close approach to the shore at Chesil Beach.

Marc Kativu-Smith, coastal centres manager for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, said at the time: "What an absolute treat to see a large shark like this so close to the shore in Dorset. Looking at the dorsal fin and the way the shark moves, this is most likely a basking shark. This is the second largest fish in the world, and although this one looks smaller, they can grow to 11m in length. There is no need to panic though as they are gentle giants and only feed on plankton.”

Starry Smoothhound in Sandbanks

News and Star:

Starry smoothhound spotted at Sandbanks

A mum and her daughter recently spotted a four-foot shark while paddling along the shoreline in Sandbanks at the end of May.

Bournemouth Oceanarium experts, who identified the shark, explained that the paddlers were ‘lucky’ to witness one of the UK’s native sharks up close and personal, as they are usually found in deeper water.

Although the name ‘shark’ may spark alarm bells, the Starry Smoothhound is in fact completely harmless.

Dogfish at Branksome Chine

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Shark found washed up on the shore at Branksome Chine

Earlier this month a Poole resident found a washed up Dogfish on the beach at Branksome Chine.

Henry Clark came across the metre long beast on his morning sea swim - this wasn’t the first exotic creature he’s come across, last year he also found a washed up stingray.

Spiny dogfish, also known as spurdogs or mud sharks, are one of the common species of shark, found in abundance along northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

The spiny dogfish is grey in colour with white spots, and measures about 60 to 120 cm in length.