8ft shark dis­cov­ered on beach

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

An an­gler came in for a sur­prise when he found an 8ft bask­ing shark on Deal beach.

The crea­ture was dis­cov­ered by Paul Shad­bolt who was beach clean­ing just north of the pier on Fri­day morn­ing.

Bask­ing sharks eat plank­ton and pose no threat to hu­mans.

They have large mouths to al­low them to take in large amounts of the tiny plank­ton.

Mr Shad­bolt, who has been fish­ing for 20 years, said: “I think it may have died from mal­nour­ish­ment be­cause bask­ing sharks are not as thin as that. Plank- ton is usu­ally found in warm, clear wa­ter, and right now the sea around here is nei­ther. So I think it didn’t have enough and gave up the ghost. “It was a very sad sight.” Mr Shad­bolt re­ported it to the RSPCA. He added: “I think it died very re­cently on the beach, the body was still fresh and also soft and pli­able. The body was in­tact, there were no bite marks. There was a clear flesh wound on a fin, which is from prob­a­bly when it rolled on the shin­gle. Look­ing at the size of the tail I first thought it was prob­a­bly part of the whale fam­ily. But it didn’t have the face of some­thing like a por­poise. Its huge mouth and small teeth made me sure it was a bask­ing shark.”

A spokesman for Dover Dis­trict Coun­cil con­firmed the au­thor­ity was mak­ing dis­posal ar­range­ments.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “If you see a dis­tressed or in­jured crea­ture, which is stranded on the coast­line please con­tact the RSPCA or Bri­tish Divers Ma­rine Life Res­cue.”

Con­tact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or BDMLR on 01825 765546.

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