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World's Deadliest Sharks Could Head To UK Because Of Global Warming

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

World's Deadliest Sharks Could Head To UK Because Of Global Warming

The world’s deadliest sharks could head to the UK ‘sooner or later’ due to global warming, an expert has warned. 

Despite a number of suspected sightings over the years, there has never been confirmation of a great white in UK waters – where species tend to be those that aren’t dangerous to humans, such as basking sharks. 

However, shark expert Ryan Johnston believes this could soon change as the effects of global warming continue to disrupt eco-systems. 

Great white shark in Mexico. CreditL Alamy
Great white shark in Mexico. CreditL Alamy

The marine biologist, who is one of the experts appearing on National Geographic’s SharkFest season – which kicked off on Sunday 17 July – said: “I would urge every British shark fan to keep their eyes peeled, because sooner or later they are going to see a great white in British waters. 

“The theory that a lot of people are working with is that, as climate change comes, warmer waters are going to reach up into the UK. 

“Because there is a great white population in the Mediterranean and around Spain, that population will be able to extend up to English waters. 

“How quickly that will happen we don’t know, but throughout the world we have started to see distribution changes in many shark species.” 

Earlier this year, a fin that locals believed belonged to a great white was spotted off the coast of Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, having been photographed just 30 miles away from another sighting off Hayling Island, Hampshire, back in 2017. 

Neither sighting, however, was confirmed. 

Great white shark swimming underwater in Mexican waters. Credit: Alamy
Great white shark swimming underwater in Mexican waters. Credit: Alamy

Johnston, who features in SharkFest's Jaws Invasion this week, believes it is unlikely such sightings were great whites, but admitted that we might not have ‘too long’ to wait until they do head our way. 

He continued: “The most common sharks in the UK are the basking shark and the porbeagle, but they are entirely harmless. 

"The basking shark feeds on tiny little things that are a centimetre long. The porbeagle is often mistaken for a baby great white because they are closely related. 

"The great white also shares the porbeagle’s ability to elevate their body temperature, which allows them to go into cold water. 

“But the great white isn’t as advanced, so it’s difficult for them to really extend into British waters, for now. That will change as the seas get warmer – and we might not have to wait too long.” 

Watch SharkFest this summer on National Geographic Networks or on Disney+.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Animals, UK News

Jess Hardiman
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