Shark attacks UK: how common is an attack off coasts like Cornwall?

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The victim warned that they did not want the incident to “tarnish the reputation of an already persecuted species.”

A swimmer snorkeling off shore Cornwall was involved with a suspect shark attack after a leg bite.

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The incident was described as a “freak event” with the victim stating that they did not want to “tarnish the reputation of an already persecuted species”.

You need to know.

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What happened in Cornwall?

Last Thursday (July 28) a snorkeler was involved in a suspected shark attack that described a “very frightening incident” off the coast of Cornwall.

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The swimmer suffered a leg bite and required help from HM Coastguard and ambulance crews after the encounter near Penzance.

HM Coastguard said they were briefed on the attack just before 12.30pm and that the “Coastguard team met the victim at Penzance Harbor to assist in the handover to emergency services”.

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The victim was reportedly bitten by a blue shark during a snorkeling trip.

People on the beach at Sennen Cove near Penzance in Cornwall, England (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Blue Shark Snorkel Trips, the company that organized the tour, said such incidents are “extremely rare” and they are “in ongoing discussions with shark experts” to find out what happened.

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In a statement posted to his Facebook sitethe company said: “We would like to make everyone aware that we had an incident.

“These incidents are extremely rare and easily misunderstood, so we want them to be dealt with as sensibly as possible.

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“As we know, these things can happen when we choose to interact with wild animals in their own environment. The last thing we want is for speculation to propel the media into a world of bad press for the sharks through no fault of their own.

“We immediately put our emergency plan into effect and provided first aid to the affected person.

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A blue shark is believed to have been involved in the incident (Photo: Adobe Stock)

“Following advice and assessment by the Coast Guard, the individual exited the boat and received further treatment ashore.”

The company also shared a statement from the victim, which said: “Despite the end of the journey, it was amazing to see such majestic creatures in the wild and I would not for one second see this unusual event haunt the reputation of an already tainted one.” Species.

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“I wanted to thank everyone for their great actions. What was a very scary incident was made so much easier by the kindness and calm of the people around me.”

What sharks are in UK waters?

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According to UK charity Shark TrustBritain’s shores are home to over 40 species of sharks, including some of the “fastest, rarest, largest and most migratory in the world”.

At least 21 species of sharks live in UK waters year-round, including the Smallspotted Catshark and the Nursehound. In addition to these 21 resident sharks, there are also at least 11 different species of deep sea sharks, such as the Portuguese dogfish, black dogfish, kite shark and gulper shark.

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In the warmer months we also have some seasonal visitors such as the basking shark which you are most likely to see around the British Isles between May and October.

Other seasonal visitors include the blue shark and shortfin mako.

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You are most likely to see a basking shark in the UK between May and October (Photo: Adobe Stock)

We also have other occasional visits from smooth hammerheads and frilled sharks.

The Shark Trust says: “There is much debate about whether great white sharks are present in UK waters. But as exciting as that would be, it’s very unlikely.

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“There have been no confirmed sightings or strong evidence that they are here. Still, British waters offer great conditions for great white sharks, so it’s not impossible.

“The next confirmed report is of a female great white shark caught in 1977 in the north Bay of Biscay – 168 miles off Land’s End, Cornwall.

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“In 2014, a tagged great white shark named Lydia was the first of its kind to be documented crossing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Although she was still 1,000 miles from the British coast.”

How common are shark attacks in the UK?

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Shark attacks in Britain are exceedingly rare, with the Shark Trust stating that there have been “no unprovoked shark bites in British waters since records began in 1847”.

The charity adds: “Few sharks are potentially dangerous to humans. None of this has ever been reported in British waters.”

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The shortfin mako shark also occasionally visits British waters (Photo: Adobe Stock)

However, the Shark Attack Database lists some shark attacks that have taken place in Britain, with 16 unprovoked attacks between 1785 and 2016.

Only one incident was fatal involving a swimmer in 1922 at Hornsea, East Yorkshire.

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