Devon and Cornwall are becoming the UK’s capital for sharks. 40 different species of shark live around the UK coast, including basking sharks, blue sharks, cat sharks, smooth-hound sharks and thresher sharks. Of these 40, 21 live in our waters throughout the year.
Due to climate change, the planet’s oceans are warming, and marine biologists have issued a warning that new species of shark could start moving further North to look for cooler waters. This could lead to new species entering our ecosystems, including sand tiger sharks and blacktip sharks, which could cause major changes to the biodiversity of the UK’s waters.
But could this also lead to an increase in attacks on humans?
On the 28th of July (2022), an unprovoked attack from a shark occurred in Penzance, Cornwall. The swimmer was attacked during a snorkelling excursion where a blue shark bit her on the leg.
Attacks from sharks are incredibly rare especially in UK waters. Many of our UK shark species stay away from humans, with the largest species, the basking shark choosing to feed on plankton. Since 1847, according to the International Shark Attack File, only three people have been bitten by a shark in an unprovoked attack in UK waters.
The UK isn’t the only part of the world seeing an increase in shark species in their waters, on the 22nd of June (2022), a swimmer in California, US, was bitten by a great white shark and on Wednesday the 13th of July, two swimmers were bitten by sharks, in two separate incidents at Long Island, New York. Again, scientists have concluded that the warming of the oceans, due to climate change, is causing the sharks to move further North.