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Last Updated: Monday, 1 December, 2003, 15:06 GMT
Fisherman nets 100 sharks off UK
Shark
The sharks were caught by mackerel bait placed on hooks
A Cornish fisherman has caught more than 100 sharks in waters only 20 miles off the UK coast.

Martin Ellis landed 65 porbeagle sharks off the Cornish coast in a single trip a week ago.

The 49-year-old, from Ruan Minor, then returned to the same spot on Sunday on his 40-foot vessel The Prevail to catch another 50 of the creatures.

But Ali Hood, conservation officer at the Shark Trust, condemned the practice of fishing in shark feeding areas.

Mr Ellis said he and one other crew member attached 300 mackerel bait on hooks along a six-mile long fishing line to make the catch.

Targeted shark fishing is very, very short-sighted. It means we could lose one of the most wonderful types of wildlife in our waters
Ali Hood, Shark Trust conservation officer
"I have been trying to catch sharks all summer but this was the first time I got to where they were feeding," he said.

Mr Ellis said his biggest catch was a six-feet long porbeagle weighing about 9st 6 lb (60 kg).

The creatures have been sold at auction at Newlyn fish market for up to 2.10 per kilo. The majority are now destined for France and Spain, Mr Ellis said.

He added: "They are really nice to eat and taste a bit like swordfish. They're delicious."

Miss Hood said the catches by Mr Ellis were "disastrous".

Targeted fishing

"Shark species only increase their populations by around 3% in a year because their only real predator is man," she said.

"Targeted shark fishing is very, very short-sighted. It means we could lose one of the most wonderful types of wildlife in our waters and it messes up the balance of the eco-system."

Miss Hood said the porbeagle was a "near-threatened" species, but was not legally protected by a fishing quota.

The porbeagle is a stout, spindle-shaped shark with large black eyes, a conical snout and narrow teeth.

It feeds on other fishes, small sharks and squid.




SEE ALSO:
No bites in shark hunt
21 Aug 03  |  Cornwall
'Great White Shark' spotted
01 Aug 03  |  England


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