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Endangered Porbeagle Shark Spotted off Welsh Coast

By Laura Clout for The Daily Telegraph.

An endangered shark has been spotted off the western coast of Wales, just metres from the shore. The shark had fresh abrasions around its snout and around its tailstock so may have been attacked by nearby bottlenose dolphins.
Residents of Fishguard, Pembrokeshire rushed to photograph the 8ft (2.5m) porbeagle shark as itPorbeagle Shark off Fishguard, Wales swam just off the beach for around an hour.

After attracting a crowd of onlookers, the shark, which appeared to be injured, made its way out to deeper water.

Experts identified the creature as a rare porbeagle, which although potentially dangerous, is not known to have attacked anyone in British waters.

Cliff Benson from the Sea Trust, who saw the creature, said he thought it may have been attacked by a school of bottlenose dolphins in the area.

"The first thing I said was 'Wow, that isn't basking shark'" he said. "To be that close to a wild free shark was amazing."

"On occasions it almost beached itself and I got the impression it was not well.

"Close up there were fresh abrasions around its snout and also around its tailstock .

"This made me suspect it might have been beaten up by the bottlenose dolphins which I had been filming earlier feeding on mackerel at the harbour mouth.

"The bottles may have objected to the shark trying to share the fish and reacted violently."

The porbeagle is normally one of the fastest and most agile sharks, capable of jumping fully out of the water.

Ali Hood from the Shark Trust said the species sometimes visits the Welsh coastline, although it does not usually venture so close to the shore.

He said: "No-one should be concerned.

"They shouldn't stop anyone swimming or canoeing or anything. These sharks have always been there."

The porbeagle shark is on the brink of extinction, and the European Union has proposed listing the species under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The porbeagle can be found in small numbers all over the world and eats mostly bony fish such as mackerel and herring.