Swimmers evacuated from West Bay after sighting of blue shark

Bournemouth Echo: West Bay West Bay

SWIMMERS were evacuated from the water after a six-foot-long shark was spotted in the shallows at a Dorset beach.

Red flags were raised on the beach at West Bay, near Bridport, after the creature was spotted close to the shore.

Experts think the shark was probably a blue shark, an endangered species, rarely sighted in Dorset, which have been known to attack humans.

Dr Tom Brereton, research director of the charity Marinelife, said clearing the beach was the right thing to do.

He said: “Blue sharks can be dangerous, if provoked, and they have been known to attack people but normally they will swim off.

“It was sensible to clear the beach because there was a danger.

“If you see one and you are in the water don’t agitate the animal, go in the opposite direction.”

Dr Brereton said a fisherman had encountered a blue shark, probably the same animal, a few miles from the beach sighting.

He said: “On the same day a fisherman fishing for mackerel snagged a blue shark on his line, from the description of the beach sighting it sounded like the same one.

“Blue sharks are not normally found in Dorset waters, it’s fairly unusual to see them here so both sightings were probably of the same creature.

“The rising temperatures here have brought warmer water species to these waters so it’s worth keeping an eye out in the coming days.”

A spokesman for RNLI said: “We cleared the water.

“It’s standard procedure when we have a sighting like this – we have to respect the wildlife.

“The red flags went up and the beach was reopened after an hour and a half.

“It was open the next day – people were advised to stay close and not go out of their depth.”

She added: “Our lifeguards remained vigilant for other sightings over the next few days.

“We don’t know if it was a shark, if it was it may have been a blue shark shoaling for fish.

“It certainly wasn’t very big and we don’t want people to be alarmed.”

 

Endangered species

ADULT blue sharks can grow to 12ft in length and weigh 204 kilograms or 450lbs.

They mostly eat other fish, such as squid, mackerel and herring.

Blue sharks are considered to be a dangerous predator, believed to be responsible for attacks on humans in the past.

The species inhabits deep water in tropical, subtropical and temperate seas all over the world. Blue sharks travel hundreds of miles each year, migrating in large groups across the North Atlantic using the Gulf Stream.

Over-fishing has resulted in blue sharks, which have bright blue bodies with a white underside and large eyes, becoming an endangered species.

Comments (9)

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12:30pm Wed 15 Aug 12

Merlin of Britain says...

Just a small nicety of zoological nomenclature - the Squid (all species) belong to the Order Decapoda, Cuttlefishes and Squids, all having 10 'arms', which is a subgroup of the Class Cephalopoda (pr: 'Kepha-lopoda, meaning 'head-footed'), itself a subgroup of the Phylum Mollusca, which includes, beside the Cephalopods, all bivalve and gastropod shellfish of marine or freshwater habitats, nudibranchs ('Sea-Slugs') and terrestrial slugs & snails. Squid are therefore NOT a kind of fish..
Just a small nicety of zoological nomenclature - the Squid (all species) belong to the Order Decapoda, Cuttlefishes and Squids, all having 10 'arms', which is a subgroup of the Class Cephalopoda (pr: 'Kepha-lopoda, meaning 'head-footed'), itself a subgroup of the Phylum Mollusca, which includes, beside the Cephalopods, all bivalve and gastropod shellfish of marine or freshwater habitats, nudibranchs ('Sea-Slugs') and terrestrial slugs & snails. Squid are therefore NOT a kind of fish.. Merlin of Britain

3:49pm Wed 15 Aug 12

Hedgehogspring says...

Merlin, this story is about sharks NOT squid. Anyway, we all know that squids are not fish. Cats are not fish either (apart from catfish, which are a strange furry fish with whiskers and claws). And Sea Cucumbers are not cucumbers either, they are marine gherkins (or ghurka's, I can't remember)
Merlin, this story is about sharks NOT squid. Anyway, we all know that squids are not fish. Cats are not fish either (apart from catfish, which are a strange furry fish with whiskers and claws). And Sea Cucumbers are not cucumbers either, they are marine gherkins (or ghurka's, I can't remember) Hedgehogspring

5:53pm Thu 16 Aug 12

bandit1 says...

I see Merlin of Britain has emerged again after his disturbing comments about those poor lads who lost their lives on the Purbeck Isle, with even more rubbish than he normally spouts off about, get a life Merlin!
I see Merlin of Britain has emerged again after his disturbing comments about those poor lads who lost their lives on the Purbeck Isle, with even more rubbish than he normally spouts off about, get a life Merlin! bandit1

9:09pm Thu 16 Aug 12

Stranger says...

What an absolutely appalling way to conduct yourself. Merlin, you should be utterly asshamed of yourself. Disgusting way to talk about people who have been lost in such tragic circumstances
What an absolutely appalling way to conduct yourself. Merlin, you should be utterly asshamed of yourself. Disgusting way to talk about people who have been lost in such tragic circumstances Stranger

11:00pm Thu 16 Aug 12

manky_dog says...

Merlin of Britain wrote:
Just a small nicety of zoological nomenclature - the Squid (all species) belong to the Order Decapoda, Cuttlefishes and Squids, all having 10 'arms', which is a subgroup of the Class Cephalopoda (pr: 'Kepha-lopoda, meaning 'head-footed'), itself a subgroup of the Phylum Mollusca, which includes, beside the Cephalopods, all bivalve and gastropod shellfish of marine or freshwater habitats, nudibranchs ('Sea-Slugs') and terrestrial slugs & snails. Squid are therefore NOT a kind of fish..
I'm surprised that people get so uptight about classification of sea creatures. After reading this I will be careful what I say in polite company.
[quote][p][bold]Merlin of Britain[/bold] wrote: Just a small nicety of zoological nomenclature - the Squid (all species) belong to the Order Decapoda, Cuttlefishes and Squids, all having 10 'arms', which is a subgroup of the Class Cephalopoda (pr: 'Kepha-lopoda, meaning 'head-footed'), itself a subgroup of the Phylum Mollusca, which includes, beside the Cephalopods, all bivalve and gastropod shellfish of marine or freshwater habitats, nudibranchs ('Sea-Slugs') and terrestrial slugs & snails. Squid are therefore NOT a kind of fish..[/p][/quote]I'm surprised that people get so uptight about classification of sea creatures. After reading this I will be careful what I say in polite company. manky_dog

7:34am Fri 17 Aug 12

Hedgehogspring says...

Well Merlin, you are obviously a very talented wind-up merchant, or totally mad. I'm going for the latter.
I agree we should take a more responsible attitude towards the way we treat the planet, but "The Others"?? Sounds like an alien movie.
You clearly have no sense of humour either.
Well Merlin, you are obviously a very talented wind-up merchant, or totally mad. I'm going for the latter. I agree we should take a more responsible attitude towards the way we treat the planet, but "The Others"?? Sounds like an alien movie. You clearly have no sense of humour either. Hedgehogspring

9:52am Fri 17 Aug 12

Laughing gnome says...

Merlin...........Do you have any friends ?
Merlin...........Do you have any friends ? Laughing gnome

2:34pm Fri 17 Aug 12

Laughing gnome says...

Blimey. Wish I had 220 "friends" on Facebook ! Merlin, you must be soooo proud.
Blimey. Wish I had 220 "friends" on Facebook ! Merlin, you must be soooo proud. Laughing gnome

1:24pm Sat 18 Aug 12

Stranger says...

Cares perhaps too much about wildlife? To ye extent you have lost the ability to behave as a rational human....
Cares perhaps too much about wildlife? To ye extent you have lost the ability to behave as a rational human.... Stranger

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