Rising sea temperatures around the British Isles will see new, tropical sharks enter British waters by 2050, according to experts.
Usually found in the Mediterranean and off the coasts of Spain and Portugal, large sharks including greater hammerheads and great whites could be heading further north than ever.
But rather than dwell on the arrival of new species to British waters as a threat to swimmers, surfers and sailors, the team at SEA LIFE Brighton are educating the public on the conservational challenges and opportunities associated with playing to host to some of the oceans’ most revered and important creatures.
Joe Williams, Senior Aquarist at SEA LIFE Centre Brighton, said:
“The most important thing to consider when talking about sharks is that humans pose a much bigger risk to them than they do to us. The UK is already home to 40 different species of shark including the second largest shark in the world, the basking shark, which is declared as a vulnerable species.
“Around 100 million sharks are killed every year through over-fishing, finning and by catch (when they accidentally get caught in lines and nets meant for other fish) and oceanic pollution.
“Sharks play a vital role in keeping oceanic eco-systems vibrant and healthy, and it is predicted that if there were no sharks, the oceans could collapse in less than 100 years. Assuming certain breeds aren’t extinct by then.
“While it is true great white sharks are strong hunters, humans are not their natural prey and attacks are incredibly rare. We’d advise that people avoid going in the sea at night, dusk and dawn, when visiting more tropical countries, plus of course follow the guidance of their local beach patrol and lifeguard teams.
“We have to remember that we’re entering their waters, you wouldn’t walk into a jungle and be shocked if you got injured by a dangerous animal. The ocean is no different. Any shark attack is a case of mistaken identity. They don’t actively hunt humans, our iron-rich blood isn’t a tasty snack for them.”