Hammerhead shark seen on edge of British waters for first time ever

A deadly Hammerhead shark has been sighted on the edge of UK waters for the first ever time.

The predator, which has a distinctive hammer-shaped flattened head, was spotted by scientists in the Celtic Sea –  about 100 miles south west of Ireland.

Although its appearance on the surface of the water was fleeting, scientists were able to positively the creature.

John Power, a marine mammal observer who spotted the hammerhead, said: "While scanning the ocean surface, we sighted a dorsal fin unlike anything we had encountered before. It was quite different to the fins seen on basking sharks and blue sharks.

"After consulting available ID keys, we agreed that the shark must be a smooth hammerhead."

The sighting comes a week after marine expert Dr Ken Collins, from the University of Southampton said Hammerheads could become regular visitors to British waters by 2050.

Mr Collins claims the Hammerhead, which can grow up to 20ft long, and other shark species could be attracted to these waters due to "rising temperatures".

Hammerheads usually inhabit warm and tropical waters such as the Caribbean and West Africa and migrate to cooler seas in the summer.

Experts say the lone specimen could have been lost but probably ventured further north than normal due to the oceans getting warmer.

Its arrival could also make it more likely that a Great White shark may be seen in UK waters in the near future.

The smooth Hammerhead – sphyrna zygaena in Latin – was spotted during a survey of herring stocks in an area of the Celtic Sea by scientists from the Marine Institute based in Galway, Ireland.

The survey is carried out every year on board the Marine Institute's RV Celtic Explorer.

Dr Simon Boxall, of the Southampton Oceanography Institute, said there is no reason why Hammerhead sharks could not exist in UK waters.

He said: "I am not aware of them (hammerheads) being seen in our waters before but this sighting does not surprise me.

"Temperatures in these waters have increased by 2.5C over the last 20 years and more exotic species carried by the Gulf Stream are travelling further north for food.

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