'Man-eating shark' is spotted off Cornish coast

A mysterious shark-sighting off the coast of Cornwall has caused a stir, but it may be a case of mistaken identity.

There have been two sightings of a large shark- believed to be an Oceanic White Tip- off St Ives and, although basking sharks are fairly common in Cornish waters, the White Tip would be something new. And as the species is known as a maneater, especially in the open ocean, the sightings have caused considerable interest.

A 60-year-old local fisherman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Western Morning News: "As I was looking over the side of the boat, it just slammed into it. Then its head came up out of teh water by about a foot."

The fisherman told two men on another boat about the shark and headed back to shore to report it. The pair then claim they also saw it and that it was indeed an Oceanic White Tip.

Authorities at the popular tourist desitination have, however, appealed for calm over the sightings, which haven't been repeated since the incident two weeks ago. St Ives harbour master, Stephen Bassett, said: "It's all been blown a bit out of proportion. We've had no confirmation it's a White Tip and, as far as I'm aware, it has not been seen since." Chairman of The Shark Trust, Richard Peirce, said: "It's completely unheard of for a shark of this status in our waters. The furthest north they have been spotted is the southern Bay of Biscay. They like water of about 18 degrees centigrade.

"The shark would not have been attacking the boat or being aggressive. It was most likely just inquisitive."

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