Are There Great White Sharks In The UK

Are There Great White Sharks In The UK - great white in the surf

You maybe wondering does the UK has great white sharks (Carcharodon Carcharias) and whether you need to worry about encountering one of these magnificent creatures whilst swimming or diving in UK waters.

There’s one confirmed great white sighting in UK waters by divers diving the Summer Isles in Scotland. The Summer Isles are home to Atlantic seals which great whites will feed on and water temperature in July to October is above 14°C (57.2), which is within the great whites preferred temperature.

The video below is about a group of divers diving out of Ullapool in Scotland. They dived Black Rock off the Summer Isles on a day in July when water temperatures can reach up to 14.7°C (58.46°F).

At first the divers thought it was a basking shark when they first saw the fin break the surface, but they soon realised it wasn’t a basking shark when it swam past their RIB boat. The white shark was about 5 metres (16 feet) long.

Great white sharks prefer sea temperatures to be between 12-24°C (54-75 °F), and as water temperatures fall below 12°C (54°F) in December in these Scottish waters, it’s unlikely great whites will be present year round in Scotland. It is thought that the great white sharks of the Mediterranean migrate to UK waters when sea temperatures get too warm in the summer months in the Med.

If you would love to dive with great white sharks, one of the best ways to do this is to book yourself on a scuba diving liveaboard that visits Guadalupe Island in Mexico. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards using the following window:

Great white sharks are migratory fish, and the furthest recorded distance travelled by a great white shark using a tracker was from South Africa to Australia and back, which is 12,400 miles (over 20,000 kilometres).

So it’s not uncommon for white sharks to visit an area to feed before leaving for another region where they might give birth to young. Research has suggested that great white sharks use the Mediterranean as a birthing ground, which is a distance well within the 12,400 miles from the UK and British waters.

A female great white shark has completed the first documented round-trip ocean crossing by a shark, swimming farther than any other known shark, according to a new study. Nicole, as the shark is being called, traveled from Africa to Australia and back—a total of 12,400 miles (more than 20,000 kilometers)—in nine months. The feat also set a second record: fastest return migration of any known marine animal. The shark’s approximately 6,900-mile (11,100-kilometer), 99-day swim from South Africa to Australia was tracked with an electronic tag that had been attached on November 7, 2003. The device had been set to pop off on a specific date in late February 2004.

National Geographic – Great White Shark Breaks Distance, Speed Records for Sharks.
Great White Shark spotted in Britain? | Sharks | BBC Earth
Watch this short video from BBC wildlife documentary ‘Sharks: Great Whites in Britain?’ to hear a convincing reason why swimmers should be wary of the British coastline! A group of divers believe they had a narrow escape from an aggressive encounter with a great white shark.

Where is the great white shark UK?

The only video evidence of where great white sharks are in the UK is in Scotland off the Summer Isles. All other possible sightings of great whites in the UK, like in Goring-by Seas, West Sussex when a man said he saw a shark fin 30 metres out to sea, are not confirmed. The picture doesn’t look real.

See image here: Great white shark fin or not?

Will research discover great white sharks in the UK?

When Chris Fisher of Ocearch was talking to the Express Newspaper he said “We didn’t even know in 2012 that all of Florida is covered up in white sharks, all winter long – and Georgia and South Carolina, Southeastern United States and Florida. We’ve all been swimming with white sharks, all our lives, and no one knew they were there. And so I think it’s important to realise that just because you’re not seeing them doesn’t mean they’re not there.”

Which means there could well be a small population of great white sharks that live in UK waters and we don’t even know they are there. It is unlikely the numbers of great white sharks are as high as they are off the east coast of America, but it’s entirely possible white sharks swim in UK waters.

Chris Fisher added to his comments about great white sharks in UK waters: “They could actually be there in abundance and you wouldn’t see them.”

Ocearch and their research team are planning an expedition to Europe and the UK in 2022 to discover if great white sharks are present and in what numbers. I will update this article when we find out more.

If you would love to dive with great white sharks, one of the best way to do this is to book yourself on a scuba diving liveaboard to Mexico’s Guadalupe Island. This is exactly what I did and I’m off to Guadalupe Island in October 2022, and I’m so excited. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards using the following window:

Is there great white sharks in Cornwall?

There have been no confirmed sightings of great white sharks in Cornwall, but it is entirely possible that Cornish waters are home to great whites. Cornish sea temperatures range from 8.8-19.3°C (48.9-64.4°F), which means at times it’s the perfect temperature for great white sharks to frequent.

Is there great white sharks in Scotland?

The only confirmed sighting of a great white shark in UK waters was off the Scottish coast near Ullapool on the west coast of Scotland. There have been numerous other reported sightings of great white sharks in Scotland for many years.

Can great whites live in British waters?

Great white sharks probably cannot live in British waters all year round, as UK sea temperatures fall below the white sharks preferred minimum temperature of 12°C (54°F). But it is entirely possible British waters are visited by great whites from the Mediterranean during the summer months to feed.

Is there great white sharks in Ireland?

It’s possible there are great white sharks in Ireland, especially if they are in British waters. White shark Lydia came closest to Ireland when she crossed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and headed to Eastern Atlantic’s Charlie-Gibb Fracture Zone, which is 1,600 kilometres from the west coast of Ireland (see image below).

Great white shark Lydia crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Great white shark Lydia crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Image courtesy of Ocearch

Will great white sharks cross the Atlantic from America?

Two tagged great white sharks Nukumi and Lydia have crossed the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, with Lydia coming within 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) off the British Iles. It’s possible other untagged great white sharks cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where it was previously thought great whites didn’t cross.

In the map above this shows the blue tracked lines of white shark Lydia, which is a 14.6 foot (4.45 metre) 2,000lb (907kg) great white shark. You will see that Lydia’s blue lines come close to the UK, which is roughly 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) from British waters, and even closer to the coast of Ireland.

In the image below the blue tracked lines are of white shark Nukumi, which is a 17.2 foot (5.24 metre) 3,541lbs (1,606kg) great white shark that entered the eastern Atlantic.

Great white shark Nukumi crosses the mid-Atlantic ridge
Great white shark Nukumi crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Image courtesy of Ocearch

You may be interested to read other places where great white sharks can be found, some places were a big surprise to me: Where Do You Find Great White Sharks (A Few Big Surprises!).

Also, when it comes to great white sharks in the UK, you are very unlikely to ever come across one, and far less likely to ever be attacked by one in UK waters. Humans are not on the menu for great white sharks as it was portrayed in Jaws the movie, white sharks prefer to eat seals, sea lions and tuna instead.

I hope you enjoyed this article about are there great white sharks in the UK

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkelling. Please use the comments section below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about are there great white sharks in the UK), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.

Are There Great White Sharks In The UK

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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