Shark Sightings on the Rise in Spain’s Mediterranean Sea as Coronavirus and Storm Gloria Invite Them Closer to Shore

A multi-organ donation at Almeria hospital allowed for seven transplants Credit: Hospital Poniente

The second largest fish in the sea, the Basking Shark, also known as a Cetorhinus maximus, has been increasingly sighted in Spain’s Mediterranean Sea as the coronavirus and storm Gloria have brought them ever so close to the shore.

THERE are several reasons for their proximity and prominence, one being the vast decrease in human activity witnessed as a knock-on effect of the health crisis. As everyone has been quarantined, there has been still waters inviting sharks to come closer to the shore where they usually stray far away from. Furthermore, Storm Gloria, experienced in January of this year could have also caused tides to shift, bringing more plankton to the area and subsequently causing sharks to drift closer.

According to Claudia Barria, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona and a specialist in sharks and rays of the International Union for Conservation by Nature (IUCN), there have already been 15 sightings of these enormous sharks.

She deduces that this could be a result of “the reduction in maritime traffic and fishing activities as a knock-on effect of being quarantined due to the pandemic, may have a lot to do with the increase in shark observations.”

Is this dangerous for bathers?  

Knowing that there are more sharks lurking in the water can easily intimidate bathers who want to cool off on hot days at the beach. Luckily, anyone who wants to swim on the Mediterranean coast can do so with complete peace of mind as these basking sharks are harmless and feed on plankton. The Storm Gloria, experienced earlier this year, could have increased the amount of this food, and therefore bringing with it the animals that eat it.

The basking shark is not the only one recovering its habitat due to the decrease in human activity as a result of quarantine; sea ​​turtles are also becoming increasingly visible. The Fauna and Flora Service of the Generalitat considers that seeing these animals is increasingly standard because there are more people on the streets than in the seas.

Experts also remind the public that if you see one of these animals trying to nest, call 112 immediately and avoid causing any inconvenience to the turtle, such as approaching it or touching it.

 

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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