Lurking off Land's End, the giant that's a world beater

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The Independent Online

A Cornish fisherman has caught what is believed to be the biggest ever specimen of a thresher shark just off Land's End. Scores of fish buyers and fascinated locals packed into Newlyn fish market yesterday to catch a glimpse of the creature before it was auctioned. It was sold to a fish merchant for £250.

The shark was caught by a local fisherman, Roger Nowell, who was trawling for squid and John Dory on Wednesday when he hauled in the 16ft specimen.

Mr Nowell said: "It was a different haul from what I am used to. Seeing that come out of the water was a bit of a shock."

Elizabeth Stevenson, who runs the market, said the 1,250lb shark was likely to be stuffed rather than eaten. She said: "There was not too much interest in buying it – it is difficult to physically move and sell that amount of fish." The previous world record for a thresher shark is a 723lb specimen caught by rod off Hawaii in 2005.

Thresher sharks are found across the world and the common species, Alopias vulpinus, can grow to up to 20ft. Their long tails, which usually account for at least a third of their body length, are used to stun their prey but the sharks have never reportedly attacked humans.