Lynne Kelleher of the Irish Examiner reports a 6ft shark from the Great White family has washed up on a Kerry beach. The female porbeagle shark was discovered by local photographer Bernard Fitzgerald at the weekend as he was walking on the Aughacasla beach in Castlegregory.
The arrival of the adult shark in Tralee Bay comes as a tagged Great White shark called Lydia is set to be the first recorded member of her species to cross the Atlantic as she swims within 750 miles (1,200km) of our shores.
Marine biologist Kevin Flannery said the porbeagle shark does bear a close resemblance to the sharks made famous by the Jaws movie.
He said: “The porbeagle does look very like a Great White. People could be thinking that the Great White we have been talking about has landed in Kerry. They are from the same family. I’m sure it gave people a fright especially if they had heard the Great White coming close to Ireland.”
The head of Dingle Oceanworld, Kevin Flannery, said the cause of the porbeagle shark’s death is a mystery as the adult looked healthy and there were no signs of injury.
“It is a fully grown adult female porbeagle. She could have died from giving birth. It’s hard to say. It would be early for the shark to give birth but with the weather patterns this year it could be a possibility.
“I have never seen or heard of one getting washed ashore.”
Local photographer Mr Fitzgerald said he was astonished to stumble across the shark when he was walking along the shore last Friday.
“It’s the first time that I have ever come across a shark in all the years that I have been walking the beach. I was really surprised that sharks were so close to our shores.”
Mr Flannery said porbeagles could become more plentiful along the Irish coast following a worldwide ban on shark fishing.
The porbeagle is not known for attacking humans although a Scottish fisherman in 2012 reported a terrifying brush with a 7ft porbeagle who almost bit though his steel top-capped boots and attacked his boat.
“Sharks tend not to attack unless they are absolutely starving,” said Mr Flannery.