‘Shark attack’ off the coast of Cornwall: Woman is bitten on leg near Penzance harbour

Daring Stephen Perkins (pictured), 52, had just hauled a blue shark into his boat for a commemorative photograph when it sunk its teeth into his forearm in September 2008 - leading him to need reconstructive surgery

Daring Stephen Perkins (pictured), 52, had just hauled a blue shark into his boat for a commemorative photograph when it sunk its teeth into his forearm in September 2008 – leading him to need reconstructive surgery 

Blue sharks are fearsome predators which return to the UK coastline seasonally to feed on the abundant stocks of mackerel and other fish in British waters.

Adult males can reach lengths of almost 3 metres (10 feet), while females can grow even larger, growing an extra foot in length. Earlier this year fishermen caught a huge 9ft 2in shark off the Welsh coast.

The predators are one of the widest ranging species, feeding in waters from Norway to Soutch Africa and despite their fearsome appearance, these sharks are under threat.

In recent years their numbers have declined by as much as 60 per cent and their conservation status is now ‘near threatened’. 

They are one of a range of species of sharks which lurk off the coast of the UK, including porbeagle, gulper and kitefin sharks – however attacks are rare. 

Below are the most recent: 

September 2008: A fisherman had to undergo reconstructive surgery after becoming the first person to be bitten by a Blue shark off the British coast in 2008.

Daring Stephen Perkins, 52, had just hauled the fish into his boat for a commemorative photograph when it sunk its teeth into his forearm.

Risky business: Stephen Perkins holds the head of the Blue Shark moments before it nearly bit his hand off

Risky business: Stephen Perkins holds the head of the Blue Shark moments before it nearly bit his hand off

It caused deep puncture wounds and Stephen lost so much blood that an RAF Sea King helicopter was scrambled to collect him off the Devon coastline.

September 2012: An experienced fisherman was left terrified after a shark clamped its jaws around his foot and bit a hole in his boat.

The 7ft porbeagle took hold of Hamish Currie’s steel toe-capped boot after his crew caught it and hauled it on to the deck of their vessel.

Mr Currie, 53, managed to free himself with the help of one of his crew, but was left shaken by the experience.

The skipper targeted the shark after hearing reports of it attacking seals off Islay in the Inner Hebrides.

May 2018: A fisherman suffered horrific wounds and was airlifted to hospital after he was bitten on the leg by a close relative of the Great White shark on a fishing boat off the coast of Cornwall.

The 7ft porbeagle became known as 'the Beast' following an attack in May 2018

The 7ft porbeagle became known as ‘the Beast’ following an attack in May 2018

Max Berryman, 21, who was said to have experienced a 10-inch shark bite down his leg muscle, was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro by a coastguard rescue helicopter.

The young angler, from Penzance, suffered leg injuries when a porbeagle shark was brought on deck in the trawler’s nets and the crew was attempting to release it back into the water.

June 2017: Rich Thomson, 30, was swimming off the coast of Devon when he was bitten on the thumb by what was believed at the time to have been a three-foot smooth hound shark. 

The teacher bashed the fish on the head and it swam away. The terrifying encounter left him with extensive bruising and his hand ‘cut to pieces’.

Experts said it was the first incident involving a surfer in British waters, and one of only a handful of attacks in the past 100 years. 

April 2021: Last year, a monster porbeagle shark weighing 22 stone and measuring eight-foot long was reeled in off the Devon coast.

August 2021: The RNLI closed a busy Dorset beach last summer after a shark was reportedly spotted in the water.

RNLI lifeguards at a Dorset beach put up red flags and searched the sea on jet skis

RNLI lifeguards at a Dorset beach put up red flags and searched the sea on jet skis 

RNLI lifeguards put up red flags, the signal to warn swimmers of a serious hazard in the water and put out a tannoy announcement telling people to get out of the sea.

Lifeguards on jet skis then spent 20 minutes searching the water off Boscombe beach in Bournemouth after three reports of some kind of ‘large marine life’ under the water, an RNLI spokesman said.

August 2021: The same month, a postman recalled the moment he came face-to-face with a huge shark while snorkelling off the coast of Cornwall.

Martin Yelland, 38, was diving just off the coast of Penzance when the blue shark swam straight towards him.

It stuck around for about an hour, before being scared off by a pod of 80 dolphins. 

Mr Yelland, who lives in St Erth, Cornwall, takes wildlife photographs in his spare time. He said: ‘It was a really memorable encounter.’

July 2022: Footage showed the moment a  ’12ft foot’ shark is spotted off the coast of Wales last month.

It showed the large fish slowly drifting in ‘waist deep’ water near to the popular resort of Tenby in Pembrokeshire.

The video was filmed by Alex Brace, a member of a local sailing club in Tenby, who was standing in the water docking a boat at the time

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