BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
'No shark danger' say sea expert
Great White shark (generic)
Surfers off the north Wales coast say they are not at all concerned
As the debate rages about whether a Great White shark has been seen off the Cornish coast, experts in north Wales insist waters here are safe.

The furore began when a holidaymaker filmed a shark in the water near dolphins off St Ives.

Cornish shark conservationist Richard Peirce said the possibility it was a Great White could not be ruled out.

But Ocean researcher Dr Hilmar Hinz, from the University of Wales, Bangor, said he was sceptical.

He said the Cornish shark was more likely to be a harmless plankton-eating basking variety.

And surfers at Abersoch in Gwynedd said even if there were Great Whites off the British coast, they would not be too concerned.

Dr Hinz, who is based at the School of Ocean Sciences in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, said it could be possible for a Great White to stray from its usual route, but even then there would be no cause for concern.

"In the warmer waters of the Mediterranean there is an occasional sighting of a Great White but that doesn't stop anyone from going in the water there," he said.

"At the moment, from the image I have seen, the shark seen off Cornwall seems to be a basking shark, or another of the larger shark species.

"We do occasionally have rare species coming to the shore - such as the whale which swam up the Thames - but it does not happen very often," he added.

A spokesman for West Coast Surf at Abersoch said: "I've surfed at places in the world where there are sharks and it's not something that worries me.

"I've seen basking sharks 20-25 feet long (6-7m) off the headland on the Lleyn, but it's not something that is being discussed by surfers here."

British waters contain 33 different species of shark, of which Blue and Mako are considered dangerous to man.

Great White sighting 'possible'
28 Jul 07 |  Cornwall
Experts split on UK Great Whites
28 Jul 06 |  Cornwall


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific