Seals relieved after shark diverts north

‘Lydia’ the great white shark after being tagged in Florida last year.
‘Lydia’ the great white shark after being tagged in Florida last year.

Dnal Nolan

BLASKET Island seals can breathe a sigh of relief - the great white shark that was heading towards our coast has changed course and is now heading north towards Greenland.

But it's bad news for the fishermen of west Kerry who hoped the ferocious shark might take a bite out of the population of 1,400 seals that rob their nets and threaten their livelihoods.

Up to last week Lydia the great white was 750 miles offshore and heading directly for the Kerry coast. However, she was recorded in a new position on St Patrick's Night and appears to have changed course to the northwest

Lydia watchers have been tracking her movements through the Ocearch Project website, the marine institute that made the tracking possible by tagging her in Florida a year ago. Leading marine wildlife expert Kevin Flannery told The Kerryman last week her approach was fantastic news for biologists as she is the first recorded great white to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge into the northeastern Atlantic.

Her presence would have but one effect on the Blasket Island colony, Mr Flannery explained: "If she comes here she will frighten the life out of the seals!" At 2,000 lb weight and 14.5 feet in length, Lydia would require a lot of seal blubber and meat to sustain her thousand-mile wanderings.