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You're Going To Need A Bigger Boat In Cornwall After Huge Shark Washes Up

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You're Going To Need A Bigger Boat In Cornwall After Huge Shark Washes Up

A very rare sighting has occurred on the coast of Cornwall, UK, but sadly it's not a good one.

As reported by Cornwall Live, a huge 25ft shark has been spotted washed-up, and floating upside-down, at Chapel Point, Mevagissey.

It's believed to be a basking shark, which is not a rare sight on the British coast - however to spot a dead one is a 'rare opportunity', as you can see in the video...

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Credit: Cornwall Live

The animal was first spotted by photographer Matthew Facey using a drone to take pictures of the stunning coastline around the area on Sunday.

Volunteers from the Marine Strandings Network at Cornwall Wildlife Trust were sent to the scene to assess the beat, and work out the specific details as to what happened to the shark.

The first sightings came in the previous night, but due to the tricky land nearby the shark, they waited until the morning (with crossed fingers) to assess the situation.

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Niki Clear, of MSN, said the team have proceeded to take measurements and photographs but "sadly this one is quite decomposed already."

She added: "All the information helps us to analyse it and learn more about basking sharks."

Nick Mullan, 24, is currently doing a Masters in Ecological Management and Conservation Biology, and said: "I don't think it's a particularly shocking image. Basking sharks do sink on death, but that could take a couple of days.

"It definitely is a rare sighting though."

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Credit: PA Images

He said the reason behind a floating shark lies behind their bladder: "Unlike bony fish, sharks don't have a swim bladder to help them with their buoyancy, so they constantly have to keep swimming to stay afloat, otherwise they'll sink.

"They are also much denser than the surrounding water, so they'll hit the sea bed like a sack of shit.

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"However, when the animal dies, bacteria that begin the rotting process within the animal will produce gasses causing the animal to bloat. And by lowering the specific gravity of the body, as a whole, under that of water, it will cause the body to float.

"This one may have died close to shore and been kept close to the rocks by the current."

Samples have been sent to Exeter and Plymouth University for further analysis and Clear is hopeful the shark can reveal more about the marine wildlife.

Clear added: "They are an extremely interesting species to study. Because basking sharks only eat plankton, they can help to show the overall marine health.

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"This part of the world is a hotspot for basking sharks, but when they die their carcasses sink, so they don't often wash up."

Clear did add that the number of living basking shark sighting is increasing, which is good news, particularly after a poor couple of years in terms of numbers.

Credit: sharktrust.org

Cornwall is one of five known sites for basking sharks, with two sections of the Hebrides in Scotland, the Isle Of Man and Malin Head in Northern Ireland being the others.

Featured Image Credit: Facebook

Topics: Sharks, cornwall

Michael Minay
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