back to article Great white sharks menace Blighty

In what certainly represents the death of the British seaside pedalo hire industry, the Sun reports that hungry great white sharks have moved from their traditional hunting grounds off the coast of Amity in search of European flesh. Those of you who are tempted to doubt that anyone venturing out into UK territorial waters will …


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  1. Nazar
    Thumb Up

    Oh Noeezz

    >traditional hunting grounds off the coast of Amity in search of European flesh.

    Splutter!!1 Damn! Soaked my keyboard in coffee! Again!!

  2. Fizzle
    IT Angle

    Great whites

    I for one welcome our great white overlords.

    Mind you, having been to Newquay, I can say for certain that from what I've seen, the surfers there are far from innocent!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    > for a poke at the devil fish's scaly ass.

    You're not going on about that surfing donkey again, are you?

  4. Elmer Phud

    News? Sun?

    "There have been sightings in the past but no photographic evidence, but that definitely does not mean they are not here."

    Yeah, right. Big white last seen in mano-a mano punch up with Nessie.

    "Today's stunner, Julie from Sevnoaks, is concerned that youngsters may be afraid to go in the water and hopes that 'something will be done' to stop the terror-beast from harming our children."

    Tomorrow - more paedo terror form the deep.

  5. Rogerborg

    Anglers, eh?

    I always suspect that when the sea's too rough, they sit up trees with sausages on hooks and haul screaming badgers into the air before clubbing them and finally drowning them in a bucket.

    It's OK, badgers and fish are (to use AnglerSpeak) proud, noble creatures who actively seek out the baited hook in order to engage in a battle of wits. cunning and strength.

    Anyway, best of British luck in outwitting an animal with a brain the size of a thimble, then hauling it up with the best Chinese technology your ooh-me-back disability dole money can purchase. Truly, heroes for the modern age.

    1. Eponymous Cowherd
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      The difference between fish and badgers

      Never tried fishing, have you?

      No? Thought not.

      A few points for your consideration:

      Most fish caught by sea anglers in the UK are edible and are caught as much for food as for sport. Unless you are a vegetarian, the only difference between you and I (a sea angler) is that I'm quite willing to catch and kill my own food, while you get someone to do it for you.

      Frankly, unless you *are* a vegetarian, criticising someone who is willing to catch and kill his own food, while you are quite happy to eat dead animals that have been killed by someone else, is hypocrisy in the extreme.

      Badgers are, generally, not considered terribly edible.

      Most sharks caught by anglers in UK waters are tagged and released (not killed). It is tagging by sport anglers that has allowed scientists to better understand these amazing creatures.

      The skill in angling is not "outwitting an animal with a brain the size of a thimble", any more than picking mushrooms is "outwitting a fungus". The skill is in knowing your prey and its habits, reading the conditions and environment, etc. You don't need to outwit a fungus, but you sure as hell need to know where and when to find them and if they will kill you if you eat them!

      1. Spot the Cat

        Hats off!

        Hear, hear, Mr Cowherd.

        I prefer a 12 bore to a rod, but I'll swap you half a dozen pigeons for a couple of pollock.

        1. Eponymous Cowherd
          Thumb Up

          Cruelty to pottery.

          Sounds a good deal, though bass from the shore is more my thing.

          Do a bit of shooting myself, but mostly clays.

          Obviously its not much of a challenge trying to outwit pottery (which, surprisingly, don't have a brain at all), but there you go.

          And the death threats from the CLF (Ceramic Liberation Front) can be worrying.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Downvoted ...

        for being a humorless git. Probably why he/she spends most of his/her time with fish.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down


          For being a git, full stop.

    2. Anton Ivanov

      Try to pull anything bigger than a perch and come again

      You quite clearly have never tried to fish. I suggest you try to pull out something as trivial as a European trout. I am not talking about "The Old Man and the Sea" monsters or Siberian Tajmen which is the closest freshwater equivalent.

      No, just trout. Not even rainbow, the real one which victorian industrialisation has made practically extinct in England. The one that is on average around 300g.

      Once you have seen how difficult it is to land something that small that actually fights, please come again.

      Disclaimer - I do not fish in England because if I catch something I expect to eat it.

  6. The BigYin

    I thought...

    1) Great whites had been seen basking in the Med

    2) They don't like human flesh as we are not fatty enough and attacks are down to mistaken identity (and lacking hands, they use their mouths to feel; a bit like a toddler, coochie-coochie-coo)

    1. The Indomitable Gall

      Meanwhile, in the Truro WeightWatchers committee room...

      "They don't like human flesh as we are not fatty enough"

      Hey guys, I think I've got our next poster campaign -- "shed that sharkbait".

    2. Gianni Straniero

      ... wrong

      > 1) Great whites had been seen basking in the Med

      Great whites and basking sharks are different species, silly.

    3. MrT

      What do great whites like to eat most...?

      Depends what wildlife programme you watch, but 'seals' must occupy 9 out of the top ten answers.

      Now, the grey seal is nice and large, and over half of the world's population hauls up around northern England and Scotland. If you want to find a northern great white, park your boat off the Farne Islands, not Newquay Harbour or Perranporth Beach.

      I remember one naturalist being asked a few years back if great whites could be off the coast of Britain and he said that it's never been proved but might be possible since they would go where the food is - just that areas favoured by seals tend to be remote and far away from huge crowds which might be a reason why no-one has sighted any. Either that or they just aren't there...

  7. Tom 7

    s/scaly/dermal denticled/g

    @Rogerborg How is the extremely complicated task of getting a fish to eat outwitting? You can do the same to most land based creatures but I guess seeing it it actually happen makes it hard for you to convince yourself that the £500 pole (to save you actually walking round to the other canal bank) was good value. Oh - and the RSPCA would kick your spotty bot.

    1. Pavlovs well trained dog

      good grief

      irony and sarcasm lost on you?

  8. Paddy 1

    Cornwalls loch ness monster.

    This is exactly the same as the blue fin mako shark fishing off the west coast of ireland .. one guy catches one and 6 years later the boats are still leaving daily for 'blue fin shark fishing' you have more chance of catching a wellie.

    In cornwall nooones even caught one but there are thousands of people dying to part with their cash to pile into a rental boat to try.

  9. Shadowthrone
    Thumb Down

    Sharks aren't the problem, humans are....

    I assume these "anglers" are aware that the Great White is still on the endangered list so if they attempt to land one and are caught they can and will be prosecuted.

    I really hate the fact that people go out of their way to hunt sharks, leave them alone. They have been swimming the oceans of this planet for millions of years longer that humans (in any of our forms) have been around. The ocean is their environment not ours.

    Besides, I cannot be sympathetic to surfers in this....if you are going to dress up like a seal and go into an animal's hunting group you cannot complain when you have a shark nibbling on your leg. I mean, you would not dress up like a zebra and go prancing around the Serengeti(sp?) would you? You would be a lion's meal in no time flat.

  10. jason 7

    I do hope they are not going fishing for them.

    Maybe someone should point out they are a protected species before they are carted of by the police.

    I dont think I'd want to try 'catch and release' with one of those.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Great Whites

    There should be no Great Whites off Cornwall. Its not their usual hunting grounds - although they have been seen in the Med from time to time.

    We get Basking Sharks which often get confused by locals.

    Other than that - we do get Mako and Porbeagle sharks which are of the same family and could be mistaken for Great Whites.

    They are all pretty neat though and should be admired. They aren't a huge risk to people although a "sample/curiosity" bite may kill a person anyway. Human attacks are often due to being mistaken for seals.

    Now if there were tiger or Bull Sharks sighted then that's different... They are quite aggressive and close to shore but thankfully not in this part of the world.

  12. Shades

    To easy...

    "join Quint for a poke at the devil fish's scaly ass."

    so I'll take the pedant route: Sharks don't have scales.

    1. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down

      Too easy..... i'll take the pedant's route: Too easy.

      1. Gavin King

        Still too easy:

        I'll see your "too", and raise you a capital "I".

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Photos(hop) or it didn't happen


    1. nagyeger


      We need a playmobile reconstruction!

  14. Annwyn
    IT Angle

    Ahh, it must be Friday

    No IT? Who cares? It's Friday and we all love stories like this at the end of the week.

    Love the genius delivery - I got many a puzzled look from surrounding desks as I giggled away...

    P.S. Check out the awesome pic the Sun pulled out to accompany their account if you haven't already!

    1. Arclight


      I'm confused as to the meaning of the word 'awash' in the title of the Sun's story. We're so awash with them that none have been caught, or even photographed.

      1. Ian Yates


        That'll be your problem: you're reading the Sun and expecting it to make sense and not be sensationalist hogwash.

  15. SlackerUK

    What utter bollocks

    As a recreational diver I can only hang my head in disgust at the continuing misinterpretation of Great Whites as "monsters". Having dived in Southern Australia (where all the live bits of the Jaws films were done) and been in water, without a cage, with these incredible creatures I can definitely they are truly awe-inspiring.

    Most people probably are not aware that Great Whites have been living in the Mediterranean for a very long time (Malta is a global hotspot for them) and yet not a single reported incident.

    As for the fishermen - congratulations on attempting to worsen the fate of an already endangered species.

    1. d1550lu510n3d

      Leave them alone, they are mostly harmless.

      Exactly what SlackerUK said. They are awesome creatures to behold, and so long as you leave your seal impression at home they will leave you alone as you should them.

      When will people learn to live and let live.

  16. envmod

    "It may be a Marlin, or a Stingray....but it's definitely a game fish."

    *hooper pulls as the line snaps and sends him crashing into the wall*

    *quint picks up the line*

    "Gamin' fish eh? Marlin? Stingray? Bit through this piano wire? Don't you tell me my business again."

  17. Red Bren

    Recycled news

    The Sun "reported" the same story in 2007.

    Didn't it turn out to be a hoax?

    1. Vic

      "The Sun" wouldn't know a shark from a shopping trolley...

      > The Sun "reported" the same story in 2007.

      They do it every few years, it seems.

      > Didn't it turn out to be a hoax?

      It usually turns out to be a Basking Shark. Again. And an idiot who can't tell the (particularly distinctive) Basking Shark's fin from a Great White's. Again.


  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    Ah, you need the right tackle?

    Ok, let's see.

    Oceangoing barge with salvage crane? Check.

    2000' of heavy duty anchor chain? Check.

    3' tool steel barbed hook? Check.

    All I need now is a Sun journalist as bait and a weekend's fishing off Cornwall shall be mine.

  19. Ferry Boat


    Sooner these dangerous sharks die out the better. Same with those polar bears, when they go I won't need to carry a rifle. I'd be happy with that.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Endangered

      If you're serious then you're awesomely ignorant. If you're not, then er, I don't get it.

      1. Ferry Boat

        'Serious', 'don't get it'?

        That would be The Register comment section then. As we exploit the Arctic people shoot the bears when they are a nuisance or threaten human life. Working in that area often means being armed. Doesn't happen much in Norway/US/Canada/Greenland but in Russia it's a bit more lawless. Lack of ice for them doesn't help either. Fishing is killing great whites and removing their prey. Sorry, just the Friday depression about the state of things...

    2. hplasm

      I know you are kidding.

      Penguins don't carry rifles,they use harpoons.


  20. CASIOMS-8V

    Not worried

    Until they get frickin lasers

    1. Gianni Straniero


      Does anyone seriously find the shark-laser combo funny anymore?

  21. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Just another thought...

    "Quite how it it takes to the innocent white flesh of Newquay remains to be seen." (One may seriously argue about the "innocent".)

    I guess, they will turn away with disgust? But what do I know about great whites' preferences.

  22. jake Silver badge

    Gawd/ess. The misinformation is appalling ...

    First of all, I have personally caught a "Great White"[1], just off the coast from Bude (actually, just off Northcott Mouth). This was in 1978 or 1979. I have Polaroids, and a scar between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand as mementos. I released him/her. He/she didn't thank me. That's where I got the nick ...

    Second, I have run across sharks of many stripes whilst surfing and boating here in Northern California, including Great Whites. Not a single one of them showed any interest in making me into a snack, much less a main course. But then I grok what "food chain" means ... and how it works ...

    Try not to look like a wounded seal ... you'll live longer, in any walk of life.

    [1] For small values of Great White ... only 3.5 feet, or thereabouts.

    1. Vic

      Re: Gawd/ess. The misinformation is appalling ..

      > I have personally caught a "Great White"[1]

      > [1] only 3.5 feet, or thereabouts.

      You probably haven't.

      New-born Great Whites are around 4ft long.

      There are many sharks - even in our waters - that aren't Great Whites. They are spectacular creatures when not threatened. Except Dog Fish, which are just lazy...


      1. jake Silver badge


        It was a Great White. I have SX-70 pics to prove it. I am looking at them right now. I know what a Great White is when I see it. I grew up commercial fishing in Central California, GWs like to take Salmon struggling on the hooks of commercial fishing boats, and thus getting caught themselves.

        Note that "3.5 feet or thereabouts" is statistically 4 feet, at least when it comes to fishing (I try to never estimate high when describing fish; it's the fastest way to be classified as a teller of fish-tales).

        Unfortunately, none of the pics contain any landmarks to place shark & location together ... but the rest of the collection in the envelope clearly show us making ready at Bude's Strand, and the boat on the sand/pebbles at Northcott Mouth at the end of the day.

  23. Spot the Cat
    Thumb Up

    Innocent white flesh?

    Judging by the state of some of the innocent white flesh in Newquay, any shark taking a bite would die in unspeakable agony of something unimaginably horrible in about 30 seconds. I have an idea......

  24. Christopher Cowan

    Another Sun fake

    The 2007 report in the Sun was a fake:

    Is it possible that a Great White might be in Cornwall?

  25. Triggerfish

    I reckon its possible.

    I've heard of local fishermen on trawlers that have talked of sharks that poke their head out of the water a habit attirbuted to great whites and I don't think attributed to other sharks, and its just about in their operating range of temprature in the summer so it is possible to get great whites of the cornish coast.

    We've already got some semi tropical species from the med in these waters like triggerfish so it wouldn't suprise me if the ocasional white wanders over from the med or african coast since its not a big journey for these sharks and they are known to wander big distances.

    Suprised though if so that theres not much evidence of seals populations getting hit (unless they are just the odd occasional wanderers) since we have some of the biggest grey seal populations on our coast.

    As for catching them hmmn for sciience yeah ok, but for sport what a waste of a beautiful creature, that isn't really interested in humans, even the more dangerous ones like bull, tigers, oceanic whitetips don't always go for humans were not their preffered prey.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    I can't believe nobody has said this!

    "You're going to need a bigger boat" if you want to fish for Limey Jaws!!

    The good news for your Brits is that I hear the QE2 rents out cheap these days.....

    On a more serious note, living in Northern California, we have one of the world's biggest concentrations of Great Whites offshore. You can leave them alone and they will do the same, but the human-related shape in the water that they do respond most forecefully to is a surfer on a surfboard. When seen from below (Great Whites like to cruise deep then rush up at their prey) the shape of the board with the surfers arms and legs paddling off the sides looks a lot like a big fat seal paddling around on the surface.

    Bon appetit!!

  27. tardigrade
    Dead Vulture

    "Oh for the love of Darwin!"

    This story is a complete joke.

    Anyone who set's out to go fishing for Great Whites off the coast of Cornwall is going to have a very boring day. We have plenty of indigenous shark species to these shores, the Great White is not one of them. You might as well go fishing for Unicorn's.

    @Jake you almost certainly caught a small Porbeagle, which is often confused for the Great White.

    As for the people criticising anglers for threatening the sharks..... Where do you start?!

    1] No anglers in Cornwall are going to catch Great Whites. The people quoted in the Sun article are clearly deluded and inexperienced.

    2] The majority of Sea angling is done for edible fish. I fish for Mackerel, Bass, Pollock, Plaice, Whiting, Gurnard, Turbot, Dabs and Sole. Everything undersized is returned alive and everything kept is eaten. I've never been on a fishing trip with anyone who hasn't adopted the same attitude. Line fishing is the most sustainable method of fishing, catching and cooking your own fish you get the most out of the fish, in terms of less waste. I fillet my fish so get more flesh off the bone than fillets pre-packed in the supermarket and I use the bone to make fish stock. Fish this fresh is also so much better tasting and good for you than fish packaged and sat on a shop shelf for a week as even chilled fish start to break down the minute they are killed.

    If you can't sea fish for yourself or don't want to, but still eat fish. I hope that you look for the Marine Stewardship Councils (MSC) logo on any fish you buy, any fish with this logo means it has been caught from sustainable stocks.

    It would be good to know that the same people who are getting uptight about sea anglers fishing out the (non-existent) Cornish Great Whites, think about the MSC and where their fish come from the next time they tuck into a Tuna Panini from a "Café au Chic" or Cod and chips from the local chippy. Because overfishing the fish stocks that we do have is a much more present and important issue for us all to get aggravated about.

    Rant over.

    1. jake Silver badge


      Nope. I have caught a lot of Porbeagle over the years, on both sides of the Atlantic and in The Med. The critter in my old SX-70 pics has the wrong nose. It's a GW, near as I can tell.

  28. Imut

    Incredible Creature

    Please stop killing this animal (great white). They don't like human flesh as we are not fatty enough and attacks are down to mistaken identity . Great whites are an ENDANGERED SPECIES and it's illegal to catch a great white in US waters. And the maturity rates of great white sharks tend to be slow. Males reach maturity at approximately age 9 and females at about age 15

  29. AndrewG

    Bad tour Groups?

    Usually the grea whites spend the summer down here in Oz partying and looking for seals (and mistaking the occasional wetsuited surfer for din dins)

    Why they'd visit Britain in the winter is a mystery, unless they've booked a particularly bad tour operator that confused Bondi for Bagnor

  30. moejoe

    Sun sensationalist exaggeration. Here are the facts.

    This has to be the most uneducated and misleading article I have seen in a long time. It seems The Sun has been getting its information from a certain 1970s movie.

    Here I will prove this article to be inaccurate and sensationalist and will prove with logic and reason why its possible white sharks are transient visitors to the UK.

    In recent times, research is proving that previous assumptions about White Sharks being coastal territorial sharks that inhabit temperate waters are only half the story , The Great White Shark is one of the most widespread of Shark species and can tolerate water temperature from 4c to 30c, this is confirmed by White Shark sightings/captures in cold Alaskan waters to tropical waters such as Mauritius, Vietnam, Hawaii etc. Thus the fish is not exclusively found in cold or temperate or tropical waters. South Africa has two coastlines, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, the Atlantic side is similar to UK sea temps and the Indian Ocean side is warm and becomes tropical the further north you go, White Sharks have been found across the entire SA coastline! White Sharks are a migratory fish not territorial coastal fish, one White Shark tagged in SA was tracked going to Australia and back, a round journey of some 1200 miles. The nearest CONFIRMED White Shark capture was off the Bay of Biscay, 200 miles south of the UK coast, and the nearest center of abundance is in the Mediterranean. Based on this is it's very likely White Sharks are visitors to UK waters, maybe at anyone time there is always a White Shark presence in UK waters, or maybe not and there is only the occasional migrant coming through. They have not been caught/photographed here because NUMBERS ARE SO LOW, White Sharks are RARE even in centre of abundance locations, in areas of abundance (eg SA) with extensive tagging programs max 100 have been tagged, and thats where they congregate coming from 1000s of miles! But that said if the UK was "AWASH" or had a feeding ground that attracted even half the numbers of SA, by now there would of been a confirmed sighting/capture.

    To summerize. The UK is not awash with White Sharks and there is no regular feeding ground that they congregate to. But they can tolerate UK waters, and have been found so close to the UK that its reasonable to suggest they have and will enter UK waters sporadically.

  31. Elron Hubward

    I hear that the best place to see them...

    ...will be Morecombe Bay late Friday/Saturday evening when they all rush up there for a chinese after last orders.

    Coat, 'cos I'll get my.

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