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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Susie Beever

Great white sharks could soon appear in UK waters as researchers rush to Cornwall

They're one of the most feared species on the planet - and now great white sharks could be headed for UK waters.

A marine life researcher says the predators are set to migrate north in search of seals and could begin appearing off the shores of northern France and around Cornwall.

Tracking carried out by group Ocearch shows great whites have been regularly swimming north in search of food and have been increasingly spotted off the New England coast in the US in recent years.

“We believe they should be moving up past Brest [in Brittany, France] and Cornwall,” the group's founder Chris Fischer told The Times.

The group is planning to visit the UK next summer in the hopes of locating the toothy predators in our waters.

Cape Cod, a peninsula in Massachusetts, has seen a spike in the number of great whites spotted off its coast in the past 50 years, despite their presence being virtually non-existent before the 1970s.

Video shared which some believe could be a great white shark recently spotted off the west coast of Scotland (CecilyLJ/YouTube)

The resort's adjacent island of Martha's Vineyard was used as one of the filming locations for fictional Amity Island in Stephen Spielberg's 1975 smash hit Jaws.

Marine scientists believe the influx is down to the number of seals - a key source of food - present around Cape Cod's shores.

Increased efforts by the US government to protect seals have helped keep their numbers up, which may also be a reason for the rising number of great whites around the region.

But another biologist has thrown doubt on the theory the beasts could reach UK waters.

Marine biologist Gregory Skomal, who has written at length about great whites, said in fact the opposite was true.

“There’s no documented white sharks off Cornwall,” he said. “They should be there but they are not and we don’t know why.”

According to the University of Plymouth, great whites have actually been reported around the UK since 1965 with as many as 100 credible, but unconfirmed, sightings over the past 10 years.

A small number of the species are present in the Mediterranean, although little is known about them and how they wound up to being there.

Great whites are currently most commonly found around the North American coast off California, Hawaii and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as South Africa and Australia.

The predators are known for swimming and migrating long distances in search of food, and the expert hunters are said to be able to smell a drop of blood in one billion drops of water.

Experts have previously said the beasts could be commonplace off our coasts by 2050, as climate change contributes to rising sea temperatures, forcing their migration.

There are already 40 different species and an estimated 10 million sharks in our waters, with the most common being blue and basking sharks.

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