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Shark alert - locals rush to help 30-strong stranded shoal

THERE'S a shark in the water – in fact there were 30.

A shoal of tope sharks stranded in shallow water in a Dublin beach were rescued from certain death.

The sharks, which can grow to lengths of up to 2m, became trapped in a small lagoon when the tide went out on Rush South Beach in North Co Dublin.

 

SPLASHING

But a group of quick-thinking local residents banded together and managed to rescue the entire shoal by removing them to deeper water.

Speaking to the Herald, Collette Connolly said she was walking her dog early one morning last week when she noticed the sharks.

They are not a common sight so close to the shore, she said. A tope shark is usually found in subtropical seas at depths of up to 550m.

"They're normally out quite far. I walk my dog every morning on the beach. That was the first time in three years that I've ever seen anything like that," Ms Connolly added.

"When I saw them, the tide had gone out. It creates lagoons of water when the tide goes out. It was out about half an hour and the sharks were caught," she added.

"Their fins were up and they were splashing around. They were on the point of dying."

Luckily, she bumped into one of her neighbours, Jeff.

"He knew they were tope sharks. He lives in a house overlooking the beach so he ran home and got his jeep and children," Ms Connolly said.

A group of neighbours then loaded the fish into plastic containers filled with seawater and transported them by jeep so that they could be released into deeper water.

"Most of the sharks were spawning. I've never seen anything like it," Ms Connolly said.

The neighbours speculated that the hot weather might have brought them further into shore.

"That is what we were talking about –was it the warm weather that brought them in," Ms Connolly added.

They could only transport a small number at a time, so during the operation they tried to keep the sharks in the deepest part of the lagoon.

 

COASTGUARD

"It was only ankle high at this stage," she said.

The incident was filmed and uploaded onto YouTube by a local who said he was out walking his dog when Ms Connolly told him about the sharks.

Another man had noticed the shoal at 6am and had called the coast guard.

"All sharks were rescued successfully," he added.

comurphy@herald.ie


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