New shark species could be swimming towards UK as seas warm

Carcharodon carcharias Mexico Guadalupe

Up to ten shark species, including the blacktip and the sand tiger, now found in warmer climes such as the Mediterranean and the coast of Africa are likely to be attracted further north as global warming leads to higher sea temperatures.

The new shark map of Britain released today estimates that there may be now over 10 million small sharks and 100,000 larger sharks in British waters, as well as some 40 different species, including Thresher, Basking and Nursehound sharks.

A number of large sharks already found around the British Isles, including the thresher and basking sharks, are already in decline due to factors such as fishing.

The findings come from a new study by Dr Ken Collins, senior research fellow at the University of Southampton and former UK Shark Tagging Programme administrator.

Those species include the great hammerhead, blacktip shark, sand tiger or spotted raggedtooth shark, bigeye thresher, Longfin mako, bronze whaler or copper shark, Oceanic whitetip shark, silky shark, dusky shark, and the goblin shark.

Cornwall is named as the country's shark capital, with at least 20 species found off its coast. For example, warming the oceans, and this makes it a suitable habitat for ten species of sharks off the coast of great Britain, which is now floating around Africa and the Mediterranean coast.

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The most notorious of all Selachimorpha (shark) species, the great white, could also find its global range affected by climate change, but Dr Collins says its future is less certain.

Dr Collins said, 'You get Great Whites off the coast of South Africa where the water is colder than here and I see no reason why we should not have them in our waters.

"It's really important we work together to prevent a premature extinction of these wonderful creatures".

Collins said he believed great white sharks were already in United Kingdom waters, seeing that they have been found in colder water off South Africa and seals - the shark's favorite meal - can be found in ample supply in Cornwall.

A Nat Geo WILD spokesperson commented: "Nat Geo WILD loves sharks".

Sharks have a problem reputation - four in ten people admitted to an irrational fear of them in a recent National Geographic survey - but most are not risky to humans. For too long these magnificent creatures have been portrayed in a strictly-one dimensional way, as terrifying predators.

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