THE waters around Britain are home to more than 40 different species of shark, including the second largest fish in the whole world – the terrifying basking shark.
So which species are the most likely to be spotted off UK coast – and how rare are shark attacks? Here’s what we know.
Alamy A snap was taken of this basking shark off the coast of the Isle of Coll, Scotland,
Which sharks are in UK waters?
More than 40 different species of shark pass through UK waters, but only 21 of these can be found all year round.
The porbeagle is one of the most common types of shark to be spotted by British fisherman.
Its distinctive dorsal fin and long powerful body are among the characteristics that make the creature resemble a great white.
Thankfully, there has never been a confirmed case of a porbeagle killing a human, as the predators feed on smaller fish.
The basking shark is another species that regularly causes alarm in British waters.
Even though the creature can grow up to ten metres long, and has a worryingly large jaw, it’s highly unlikely they will attack as they feast on plankton.
Apex News The Porbeagle was snared on a boat off the Devon coast run by Dan Hawkins (pictured) of Reel Deal Chartered
What recent shark sightings have there been in British waters?
In June, a fearless surfer described how he hit a shark after it bit him on the leg at a Devon beach – and posted a picture of a small cut to his hand from the clash.
Teacher Rich Thomson, 30, fought off what he estimates was a 3ft shark at Bantham in the South Hams, in what experts say is the first incident of its kind involving surfers in UK waters.
Off the coast of Ireland, a fisherman caught a monster 1,500lbs shark – the biggest ever one to take bait in Europe.
Ben Bond, 26, spent 90 minutes struggling to reel in the deadly 25ft long sixgill shark on a fishing trip off County Clare.
In April a huge relative of the great white shark a – 17-stone Porbeagle – was caught off Hartland in Devon after fishermen including Dan Hawkins battled with it for nearly an hour.
A week before two stunned fisherman hooked a mammoth 28-stone Porbeagle off the Cornish coastline.
In November there were fears of a dangerous shark close to the UK after a porpoise washed ashore on a Kent beach with what appeared to be the bite marks of a large predator.
But experts said the wounds were likely the result of scavengers – on either land or at sea – feasting on the dead animal’s carcass.
BenBond/BNPS The beast which was reeled in off the coast of Ireland
How rare are shark attacks?
Every year, around 70 shark attacks are reported worldwide – and only a fraction of these are fatal.
Given that there are more than 480 different species, this is a relatively small number.
Only three sharks are considered to carry out unprovoked attacks on humans: the great white, tiger and bull.
None of these species are found in British waters.
Alamy It is unlikely that you will have to fear a shark attack if you are paddling in the British sea
When a human touches or aggravates a shark before the creature retaliates, it is known as a “provoked attack”.
There are three different types of unprovoked attacks…
Hit-and-run: This is the term used to describe the most common type of shark attack, which thankfully doesn’t tend to lead to fatal injuries.
In this instance, the shark will bite its victim and leave, usually because the creature has mistaken the swimmer for its natural prey.
Sneak: This attack is often fatal, but it is extraordinarily rare.
In these cases, the creature will wound and bite an unsuspecting victim with the intention of consuming them.
Bump-and-bite: This attack is typical to the great white, where the shark will circle its victim before biting and returning for more.
Getty Images Even though the great white shark is often vilified, Florida Museum of Natural history estimate that they have killed just 80 humans since 1580