Monday 10 December 2018

'They were in shock!' - Watch moment fisherman reels in large shark off Wexford coast

Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A fisherman got more than he bargained for last weekend when he ended up with a large shark on the end of his rod just off the Wexford coast.

Sergeys Zamahajeus had been fishing for cod near Hook Head on Sunday evening when he suddenly felt a bite on the line.

Assuming it was a large fish, a friend decided to capture the big catch on video.

However, after more than two minutes of trying to reel it in, they soon realised it wasn't a cod on the end of the line.

"They were in shock, they couldn't believe it," a friend of Cerjegs told Independent.ie.

"One of the lads was saying to bring it on to the boat but Cerjegs said if that thing's coming on the boat, I'm getting into the water."

He released it back into the water before heading back to shore.

John McKeown, who works with Marine Specialists Ltd in Co Wexford, said it was a tope shark, which tend to frequent waters in schools.

Tope are medium-sized shallow water sharks. They range in colour from bluish to grey dorsally to white underneath and are similar to the blue shark species, which grabbed headlines this week.

Robert Malcolmson (40), from Belfast, was sea angling with a group of friends off the Cork coast when a blue shark they were landing turned on the line and bit his lower arm.

He received a four-inch gash to his arm, but due to its depth he started to bleed profusely and became dizzy.

A specialist in marine ecosystems and sharks at the Marine Institute in Galway sought to reassure the public that this was a "freak incident".

“Blue sharks are quite frequent in Irish waters, it’s a freak incident really and it illustrates what can happen when you’re working with a wild animal,” Dr Maurice Clarke told Independent.ie. 

This species are a regular visitor to Irish waters in the summertime when water temperatures are just right, above 15C.

“It’s nothing new, they’ve always been coming to Ireland in the summer months. I would put people’s mind at rest by saying they’re an oceanic shark, they don’t come in shore, there hasn’t been any reports of an attack - although strictly speaking this wasn’t an attack in the sense that the shark had been caught by anglers."

During the summer, a marine expert at the University of Southampton warned new types of sharks could be heading to Irish waters as a result of warming seas.

A new study revealed 10 species of sharks currently found in warmer parts of the world, such as hammerheads and blacktip sharks, may be swimming in British and Irish seas within 30 years as the climate changes.

Dr Ken Collins, who carried out the research said: "Though while the potential number of shark species around the UK may increase in the next few decades, the overall number of sharks, especially the larger ones, will fall as a result of over-fishing, plastic waste and climate change."

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