Great White Shark Spotted in Spanish Waters
A great white shark has been identified swimming just off the shores of the popular Spanish holiday island Majorca.
The footage was filmed from a reseach vessel in the Cabrera Archipelago national park of the Balearic Islands, an uninhabited archipelago situated in Spanish coastal waters.
The 5m-long shark was spotted by a team from Alnitak Marine Reseach and Conservation Centre who were passing through the national park, and is thought to be the first confirmed scientific encounter with a great white in Spanish waters for more than 40 years. According to a post on the group's Facebook page, the shark remained in sight for 70 minutes.
A population of great white sharks is known to inhabit the Mediterranean Sea, however sightings are extremely rare, and mostly the result of bycatch by fishing vessels. A 2016 photograph of a great white caught and killed in Tunisian waters caused an uproar after it was circulated on social media, but the last time a shark was caught in Spanish waters was in 1976.
The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is listed by the IUCN as 'vulnerable'. The species was aggressively targeted following the release of the 1975 Steven Spielberg film Jaws, so much so that the author of the novel upon which the film is based, Peter Benchley, devoted the rest of his life to shark conservation.
In more recent years, it has been the subject of attempts by the governments of Western Australia and Queensland to exterminate large specimens of predatory sharks after a very small number of fatal attacks on swimmers.