Shark sightings have increased as ocean waters warm

As the heatwave in the UK continues, the world's deadliest sharks could be making their way there due to global warming.

Although there have been many suspected sightings over the years, there has never been confirmation of a great white in UK waters.

The species present in the waters tend to be those that aren't dangerous to humans, such as basking sharks.

But, marine biologist Ryan Johnston believes that this could all change because global warming continues to disrupt eco-systems.

Johnston, one of the experts appearing on National Geographic's SharkFest season – which jumpstarted on Sunday (17 July) – encourages British shark fans to "keep their eyes peeled" because "sooner or later" Great Whites could be on the horizon.

"The theory that a lot of people are working with is that, as climate change comes, warmer waters are going to reach up into the UK.

"Because there is a great white population in the Mediterranean and around Spain, that population will be able to extend up to English waters," he said.

According to Ladbible, a fin that people believed to be from a Great White was seen off the coast of Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, having been photographed 30 miles away from another sighting off Hayling Island, Hampshire, all back in 2017.

Great Whites can reach up to 20ft in length and weigh 5,000lbs. They can also live for 70 years.

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“The theory that a lot of people are working with is that, as climate change comes, warmer waters are going to reach up into the UK." iStock

In a report from The Independent, the Great Whites are also responsible for more human attacks than any other shark species.

There were 11 human deaths from shark attacks and 73 unprovoked attacks recorded in 2021, which was an increase after three years of decline.

Johnston, who is featuring in SharkFest's Jaws Invasion this week, also feels that it is unlikely to catch a glimpse of Great Whites.

He did admit that people may not have 'too long' to wait until they do make their way over to the waters and confirmed that the common sharks in the UK are the basking shark and porbeagles.

"The basking shark feeds on tiny little things that are a centimetre long. The porbeagle is often mistaken for a baby great white because they are closely related."

Elsewhere, Johnston further noted that the Great White "isn't as advanced," so it's harder for them to extend to UK waters for now.

SharkFest is available to view on National Geographic Networks or Disney+.

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