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VIDEO: Is This A Great White Shark Off Cornwall?

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5:27am 17th September 2014
(Updated 5:27am 17th September 2014)

Is this the proof some shark experts have been waiting for?

Video has emerged that shows a shark swimming off the coast of Cornwall, and there is speculation it could be a Great White.

It was shot by Redruth fisherman Nigel Hodge, who wrote on Facebook: "The deck is 24ft and I would guesstimate that the fish was half the length of that with ease.

"The water was heavily chummed as I had a whole days bait to use up in half a day."

The film shows the creature swimming alongside the boat in the sunshine off Falmouth.

Author of The Shark Fisherman, David Turner, said: "Could be any of Mako, Porgie or Great White. The footage doesn't show any defining features. It's not to chubby for a Mako. I have seen two up close off Falmouth and a large one (600lb plus) was reportedly netted off the Manacles last week.

"Big Makos are quite broad accross the shoulders, I have stuck gaffs in the mouths of two 350lb plus Makos but if the fish was 14ft long it probably was a Great White, it wouldn't be the first off Falmouth."

But not everybody is convinced.

Ali Hood is director of conservation at the Shark Trust. She told Pirate FM: "We've seen this footage. The Shark Trust consulted various Great White experts who have analysed this footage frame by frame and have concluded, to use their words, this is a hundred percent not a white shark.

"Clearly it's a young basking shark - evidenced by the shape and position of fins and various other traits including movement and the feeding action of the shark.

"We're yet to have a verified sighting of a white sharks in our waters. We do have an environment that is suitable. There is an appetite for the excitement associated with such a species. But we shouldn't overlook the species that are native to our waters - Cornish waters have a fantastic diversity of sharks."

The closest verified sighting of a Great White shark to Cornwall was off La Rochelle in France in the 1970s, but experts think it may be a matter of time before we have another closer to home.

Earlier this year a great white named Lydia was briefly swimming towards the southwest from America. After making it 19,000 miles she turned around with 1,000 miles to go.

Watch the Falmouth video here and make up your own mind...

Source: Nigel Hodge/Facebook

5:27am 17th September 2014

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