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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 07:18 GMT 08:18 UK
No bites in shark hunt
Blue Fox
The intrepid Blue Fox was on a two-week mission
An expedition to find a great white shark in South West waters has ended without success.

Richard Peirce set sail from Padstow, in Cornwall, a fortnight ago on his 8,000 hunt for the predator.

But after 14 days at sea, the 55-year-old from Bude failed to glimpse the elusive creature.

Before setting sail for the last time on Wednesday, Mr Peirce said he was disappointed his team had not found more sharks. But he also said there was a worrying lack of other species native to Britain.

Mr Peirce was one of a four-member crew scouring the north coasts of Devon and Cornwall looking for great whites and other shark species.

It is frightening the amount of sharks we haven't found
Richard Peirce
The team did spot blue sharks, basking sharks, and porbeagles (mackerel sharks). However, the number of porbeagles seen was thought to be particularly small.

Mr Peirce said: "My main impression is that there is a real lack of sharks here now.

"We have been working areas with a crew of professional shark anglers and it is frightening the amount of sharks we haven't found.

"I would liken our trip to going to a game park and discovering that someone had killed all the mammals."

Mr Peirce, a freelance marketing consultant and lifelong shark enthusiast, paid for the expedition out of his own pocket.

He was joined on the private charter boat the Blue Fox by South African shark expert Craig Ferreira, Padstow skipper Phil Britts, crewman Mike Turner and a documentary film crew.

During the expedition, the crew set sail each morning and returned to land each night.

It was hoped a great white shark would be drawn to the scent of fish remains released into the water from the boat.

Although the expedition is over, the team will continue monitoring north Cornwall waters for signs of shark life during the summer.

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20 Aug 03  |  Cornwall
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