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Scientists issue warning about Great white sharks migrating towards UK waters

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The US-based Ocearch, which is tracking 400 sharks, claims that great whites are likely to head for Ireland and Cornwall this summer.

While South Africa and Australia are frequently associated with great whites, these feared fish can be found in numerous spots and clusters around the world.

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Waters around the UK and Ireland are an unusual habitat for great whites, but it’s not unheard of. Not only is the water a perfect temperature at this time of year, but both locations are also brimming with seal populations.

This turns it into an ideal hunting ground, according to Ocearch’s founder Chris Fischer, who says the sharks may linger year on year.

“We believe that Mediterranean white sharks should be moving north to feed on seals, like all the other populations we have worked on,” he said.

“We believe they should be moving up past Brittany and Cornwall.”

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PREVIOUS GREAT WHITE SIGHTINGS IN BRITAIN

More than 100 ‘sightings’ have been reported in the UK during the last 15 years, although only 12 of those remain credible and it is likely that some of these reports concerned the same shark.

In spite of this lack of frequency, the UK coastline is believed to host ideal conditions for great white sharks, temperature wise and in terms of finding prey.

The normal, habitable temperature range for the species is between 14°C and 20°C which matches British water temperatures in the summer.

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“Strictly speaking there is no reason that white sharks should not occur off the UK coast,” Gavin Naylor, Director for the Florida Program for Shark Research, told MailOnline.

“The habitat is appropriate and there is plenty of food available.”

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MIGRATION PATTERNS CAN CHANGE

He stressed however that there is no clear contemporary evidence of their migration towards the UK, even if they do swim nearby from time to time.

“Predators move primarily to find food and/or to find mates,” he added.

“Even though there is plenty of potential white shark food in the waters off the UK, white sharks are evidently content with the tried and true food supplies that they currently exploit. This of course could change in the future.”

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