'Shark' fin spotted off coast of Cornwall sparking concern

Huge ‘shark’ fin is spotted off the coast of Cornwall sparking concern from beachgoers

  • A stunned local shared a picture of a fin she saw at Gunwalloe, south Cornwall
  • But social media users have reservations about the ‘shark’ sighting
  • The British Divers Marine Life Rescue charity has also rubbished the claims

Beachgoers were left stunned after spotting an ‘unusually large’ fin swimming in the waters around in Cornwall.

Swimmers at Gunwalloe near Porthleven, South Cornwall, have now been warned to proceed with ‘caution’ following the reported shark sighting.

Pictures of the large fin were taken by a shocked local, after the unusual sighting at around 11am on Sunday morning.

She was able to snap an image of what looks like a large fin not far from the popular beach, leading to concern among residents and beachgoers.

But one local said the fin – which was spotted from 100 feet away – seemed too large for ‘the average basking shark’. 

At around 11am on Sunday, a woman in Gunwalloe near Porthleven captured an image of what looks like a large fin and shared it on social media

Swimmers at Gunwalloe near Porthleven, South Cornwall, have now been warned to proceed with ‘caution’ following the sighting

They explained: ‘The photo was taken at around 11am at Gunwalloe from about 30 metres-ish. I can’t say what type of shark it is but it doesn’t look like the average basking shark so thought I would just mention its presence just in case. 

‘Either way, dangerous or not, it’s unusual to see any type of shark inshore this time of year and with a fin that size.’

Jacquie Williams, who snapped the scary photo, has lived in Cornwall all her life and also claims it was not a basking shark as it only had one dorsal fin. 

Regardless, her son-in-law, who posted the image on Facebook, has urged locals and tourists to be careful.

He captioned the snap: ‘Hi everyone, this shark was spotted at the other end of the beach at Gunwalloe this afternoon by my Mrs’s mum, so any winter swimmers might want to proceed with extreme caution as it looks rather large.’  

But Mrs Williams isn’t the only one with reservations about the shark. 

Many social media users have also been left speculating whether it is actually a water monster.

Other commentators have theorised that the fin could belong to a dolphin or even a seal, as the grainy image makes it hard to properly identify. 

And a few have also questioned whether the photo was photoshopped due to its quality.

A spokesman from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue has also rubbished claims that it could be a shark.

Speaking to MailOnline, the area coordinator for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly at the British Divers Marine Life Rescue said that it could be a ‘seal bottling’ as when they bob around the waters vertically or horizontally, their faces stick up so it looks like a triangle.

The spokesman added: ‘I believe by looking at the photo that the seal is asleep in the water with its head upright.’

They also added that an increase in predators such as humpback whales has also been seen along the Cornish coast, believed to be a result of ‘climate change or an increase of population as they return to their past habitats.’

But it is not the first time sharks have seemingly been spotted along the Cornish coast.

The University of Plymouth has said that while great white sharks are regularly spotted in the colder waters off South Africa,  they are yet to be confirmed in the UK

In fact, a blue shark was seen near Trelissick beach last summer.

At the time, the sighting was described by Dan Jarvis, of the charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue, as ‘worrying’. 

He said that sharks typically do not come that close to beaches, leaving him worried that someone could become injured.

And in early August last year, the Penzance Coastguard Rescue Team was dispatched to help a snorkeler who was believed to have sustained a shark bite. 

The swimmer had suffered a leg injury and was passed to the care of an ambulance team.

Meanwhile, the University of Plymouth has said that while great white sharks are regularly spotted in the colder waters off South Africa – which are a similar temperature to that of Devon and Cornwall – they are yet to be confirmed to visit UK waters. 

The university recently published a study confirming that Devon and Cornwall are two of Britain’s largest shark hotspots, with an estimated ten million small and 100,000 larger sharks across 40 different species said to already be swimming in the seas around the UK. 

And, worryingly, with climate change warming seas, experts have predicted that we could see these endangered ocean predators closer to our shores. 

Blue shark attacks on humans are described on the British Sea Fishing website as ‘extremely rare’, with only four fatal and 25 non-fatal attacks having been confirmed.

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