Marine Life

Rare Greenland shark washed up on Cornwall beach

Written by Oceanographic Staff

A Greenland shark, a species that hasn’t been seen in British waters for nine years, washed up on a beach in Cornwall this week.

The dead Greenland shark was found on Newlyn Harbour beach, near Penzance in Cornwall. Before experts could examine the individual, the tide swept it out to sea. However, a boat skipper who was out on the ocean training with a crew member later spotted and recovered the shark with his boat.

The individual will now be examined by a vet pathologist to determine the cause of death and its age, amongst other things. Abby Crosby from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust pointed out that Greenland sharks are rare in Cornwall and that the last washed up individual in the UK was found in Northumberland in 2013.

She said: “It’s absolutely amazing that one has come into Cornwall. It shows us just how incredible our coast and seas are. This is a fascinating creature and a fascinating opportunity for us to look more closely at its biology and its ecology.”

Greenland sharks tend to inhabit cold, deep North Atlantic waters where they can grow up to 5m in length. Experts believe the species reaches sexual maturity at around 150 years and lives around 250 years with some estimations concluding that the species is able to live over 500 years.

For more from our Ocean Newsroom, click here.

Photography courtesy of Pexels and Rosie Woodroffe (Greenland shark image).

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