Shark Rescued From Chesil Beach
7:57am 11th June 2013
(Updated 2:31pm 11th June 2013)
A pregnant shark was rescued yesterday after becoming trapped in a culvert at Chesil Beach.
The four foot Smooth Hound Shark nicknamed Spike was spotted by Wyke Coastguard Rescue Team.
They had to persuade over eager helpers to leave the shark alone.
Experts from Weymouth Sealife Centre were called to free Spike who was safely released back to sea.
Coastguard officers were alerted to its presence whenthey spotted people trying to catch it with a line and hook baited with a mackerel head.
“He warned them off and then called four our help,” said senior aquarist Jen-Denis Hibbitt, from the Sea Life displays development department in Weymouth.
Jen-Denis and colleague Anna Russell raced to the scene and waded chest deep to catch the shark and – after checking it was okay – release it back into the sea.
“It was heavily pregnant female, probably due to give birth very soon,” said Jean-Denis.
He added that many native British sharks would be close inshore at this time of year and many would be pregnant females like this one.
He and Anna were horrified to learn someone had been trying to hook the shark, which he said had suffered minor damage to a fin as a result.
Happily the shark swam away to deeper waters where it could soon produce anything between four and 15 off-spring.
“We would naturally urge anyone else who might come across a shark in similar difficulties to help it back out to sea if possible, or call their nearest Sea Life centre for help,” said Jean-Denis.
“No-one need be afraid of them,” he added. “Few sharks, even of the big tropical species, are actually a danger to people, but certainly our native British species are all perfectly harmless.”
Smoothounds feed mainly on hermit crabs, lobsters and shrimps and grow to a maximum of about five foot.