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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Stunned fisherman nets 8ft shark
Porbeagle shark
The 250ld porbeagle is one of the largest caught off Sunderland
An 8ft shark has been caught off the Wearside coast, just days after fishermen raised concerns about increased sightings of the fish.

The porbeagle was caught in the nets of a Sunderland fisherman, who at first tried to cut it free, but eventually had to take it to Sunderland Fish Quay.

Earlier this week marine experts allayed fears that fishermen could be at risk of attacks from sharks.

The 250lb shark is thought to be one of the largest ever caught off Sunderland.

Ron Carroll, a Sunderland Lifeboat mechanic and volunteer marine medic with British Divers Marine Life Rescue, was called in by the fisherman who told him how the shark had put up "quite a fight" after it was netted about two miles off Sunderland.

'Quite a fight'

Mr Carroll said: "People don't realise what a diverse fish life we have off the coast.

"Porbeagles are common for these waters but this is the biggest one I have seen.

"It's about 250lb in weight and I understand it gave the fisherman quite a fight and was still twitching and snacking at people back at the quayside."

The porbeagle is a stout shark and adults can grow to 12ft and have an average life expectancy of 30 to 40 years.

It feeds mainly on fish such as herring, lancetfish and mackerel, but also eats cod, redfish, haddock, squid and shellfish.

It is most commonly found on continental shelves or inshore. It prefers cool waters and is usually found in temperatures below 14C.

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