Fisherman films 14ft shark swimming alongside his boat sparking claims man-eater has reached Britain









  • Enormous shark was spotted roaming 20 miles off the coast of Falmouth 
  • Professional fisherman Nigel Hodge, 44, filmed it lurking beside his boat 
  • Shark experts who saw footage say it’s not species native to British waters
  • One said ‘probably a great white’; others suggested oceanic whitetip
  • Great white gained reputation as a terrifying man-eater in 1975 hit film Jaws
  • The oceanic great white is said to be even more dangerous to humans
  • Warmer British waters full of fish to eat may attract non-native sharks

By Harriet Arkell for MailOnline

Footage of what appears to be a great white shark in the sea off Cornwall has ignited fears that a real-life Jaws is roaming Britain’s coastline.

Fisherman Nigel Hodge, 44, was on his boat 20 miles off Falmouth when he spotted it on the port side of his boat and pulled out his mobile phone to film it.

Shark experts who have viewed his footage said it was certainly not native to British waters and that it was ‘probably a great white’.

Fisherman Nigel Hodge filmed this shark, said by some experts to resemble a great white, off Falmouth

Fisherman Nigel Hodge filmed this shark, said by some experts to resemble a great white, off Falmouth

Man-eater in Cornwall?  The footage shows a 14ft creature lurking alongside Mr Hodge's boat, Wave Chieftain

Man-eater in Cornwall?  The footage shows a 14ft creature lurking alongside Mr Hodge’s boat, Wave Chieftain

Mr Hodge, who runs fishing and boat trips with his Cornish Fishing business, was fishing when he spotted the enormous creature, which he estimated at more than 12ft long, circling his boat.

He said: ‘I was fishing on the starboard side and went to the port side to get the deck hose when I saw it.’

Mr Hodge said he didn’t want to suggest what he thought, but common consensus on his Cornish Fishing Facebook page, where he posted the footage, was that it was either a great white or an oceanic great.

David Turner, a shark specialist and author of The Shark Fisherman, said: ‘If the fish was was 14ft long, it probably was a great white – it wouldn’t be the first off Falmouth.’ 

He said a similar sized shark was seen off Falmouth last year, and said it was most likely swimming around looking for food.

Shark aficionado Roger Bowring wrote: ‘Looks like a small great white’, before adding: ‘The more I look at it, the more it looks like a great white.’

Other shark watchers suggested it might be an even more deadly oceanic whitetip, a species described by oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as ‘the most dangerous of all sharks’.  Four years ago an oceanic whitetip terrorised guests at the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, killing one woman and attacking four others.

A source at Falmouth coastguard told MailOnline they hadn’t had any reported sightings of a great white

‘We do get sharks of various types off the coast of Cornwall, it’s not unusual, but they’re primarily the large basking sharks.’

Terrifying man-eater: The great white shark has rows of serrated teeth and can smell blood a mile away

Terrifying man-eater: The great white shark has rows of serrated teeth and can smell blood a mile away

Experts said it was a basking shark because of its shape and its fins, and also ruled out other species such as mako, porbeagle, bull shark or thresher.

Great whites, made famous by the 1975 film Jaws, weigh 2,000lbs and are feared as man-eaters. They have razor-sharp serrated teeth and can smell a single drop of blood from a mile away. 

They usually prefer warmer waters than those around Britain, but scientists have warned they may be tempted to the southern British coastline as sea temperatures rise, particularly after a hot summer.

Earlier this year a great white named Lydia was spotted 1,000 miles off the south west, having swum 19,000 miles across the Atlantic from America.  Marine biologists said it appeared to be heading for Britain, where the mild weather had left the sea teeming with smaller fish to eat.

This afternoon the UK-based Shark Trust played down fears of a killer circling our shores, saying it was most likely a young basking shark.

Ali Hood, director of conservation, said: ‘We’re yet to have a verified sighting of a white sharks in our waters. We do have an environment that is suitable.’ 

GREAT WHITE SHARKS: WHERE THE LEGENDARY KILLERS ROAM

Warm blooded great white sharks live in coastal temperate waters around the world, preferring areas that have lots of seals for them to eat.

They have been found in water as shallow as 300metres deep, and waters going down 1,200metres, in locations including Australia, New Zealand, America’s west and east coasts, Sout Africa, South America, and off Japan and Korea.

Great whites have also been spotted in the Mediterranean.

They don’t like water that is too warm, so are rarely spotted in tropical waters, and they either swim right at the bottom near the sea bed or up at the top. 

Where the sharks roam: Great whites live in coastal temperate waters around the world (marked in red)

Where the sharks roam: Great whites live in coastal temperate waters around the world (marked in red)

All attempts to keep a great white in captivity have failed because marine biologists have failed to work out the ideal conditions to keep them in.  One great white in Australia had to be released because it kept banging its head against the aquarium wall. 

As a result, those who wish to see great whites close up have to go diving in shark cages.

Last week British expat Paul Wilcox, 50, was mauled to death by a great white in Australia’s Byron Bay.  The businessman was doing his regular one-kilometre swim when the shark bit into his leg, leaving him to bleed to death in the water.