A SMALL shark that washed up on a Bournemouth beach may have been aborted when its mother got into distress.

An expert in predator ecology and conservation said it could be the case that the mother shark got caught in a fishing net out at sea.

Doctor Georgia Jones, senior lecturer at Bournemouth University, carried out a post-mortem on the young shark, which is a vulnerable species.

As reported, the Thresher was found on the seafront at Southbourne at lunchtime on Thursday, May 13.

Ms Jones said these sharks play a “really important role” in the marine ecosystem and they are “absolutely not a threat” to people.

She told the Daily Echo: “It was a common Thresher shark which are endangered in Europe and from her size and looking at her weight and the fact that that her front two teeth weren’t standing up, it looks like she was young pup that was very nearly ready to be born but not quite of age.

“My working theory is that we know in a lot of sharks the mum will abort their pups if they are scared and threatened.

“It could be that her mum was caught by fisherman and the pup was suddenly aborted.

“It looked like she had been in the water a couple of days. She could have come from very far away.”

Ms Jones, who founded charity SharkStuff which is dedicated to all things shark, said commercial fisheries, through bycatch and deliberate efforts to catch sharks, are the main reason why the Thresher shark is now designated as endangered in Europe.

She said if a shark gets caught in a net it can dies within minutes.

Discussing how common it is for sharks to be in the waters off the south coast, Ms Jones said: “ “We do get sharks off Dorset every summer. They tend to stay offshore in open water spaces.

“We are really lucky to have them in our waters because they perform a really important role in the ecosystem and they are absolutely not a threat to people.”

Following the discovery of the dead shark on the beach, BCP Council’s beach and seafront service team attended the scene and retrieved the body in line with the local authority’s fish and mammals washed ashore policy.