Thousands of Blue Shark Pups On Coastline In Galicia

Galicia's Coastline Sees Thousands Of Sharks

Blue Shark. Credit: MORETHANALEGEND/Shutterstock.com

The recent sightings of sharks in Spain’s most popular tourist locations have sparked much interest and surprise, but according to an expert, it’s been going on for years in Galicia.

According to a report published Friday, June 23 in La Voz de Galicia, Galician beaches have been receiving blue shark pups in their thousands for five summers now.

Following the recent stories of sharks close to the beaches of Alicante and Menorca, another shark was also spotted in the northern Spanish province of Galicia. However, according to one expert, this is nothing to get too excited about.

The information comes from Alfredo López, the director of Galician organisation, Coordinadora para el Estudio de los Mamíferos Mariños (Cemma), which studies marine mammals. While he acknowledges that it’s only natural for visitors to feel concerned, he insists the events are nothing new.

He went on to explain that from time to time, some specimens enter the estuaries, usually suffering from an injury or some other type of problem. Occasionally, they can be seen on the beaches. ‘But it is normal for them to arrive and leave.’

The Cemma coordinator even went on to recommend that If they do wash up on the sand, pick them up with a towel and return them to the sea, and just ignore them and leave them alone if they are in the water.

The blue shark has always been present on the Galician coast. However, every summer for the last five years, there has been a sort of invasion of thousands of its young. The reason for this strange and massive migration is still unclear. ‘It could be due to the change in water temperature or to alterations in its distribution,’ he added.

The blue shark’s offspring are born in the vast central area of the ocean where their fight for survival begins as the adults practise cannibalism. This is why the small blue sharks disappear, seeking refuge where the large blue sharks will not follow them. ‘For this reason, they come to the beaches, and in these places, they try to eat. If they find food, they grow and return to the open sea. But they are thin and very weak, so many do not make it and end up dying.’

Specimens of barely fifty or sixty centimetres in length do not represent any greater danger to humans other than the attitude of those who approach them. In fact, the coordinator suggests a series of recommendations in the event that a swimmer comes across them on the beach. If so, it is advisable to avoid catching them by the tail, as they could turn and bite. Instead, ‘you should catch them with a cloth or towel and return them to the water as soon as possible.’

As with dogs, a shark’s aggressiveness is a function of the character of its species. A porbeagle shark for instance is a nervous animal, which will snap at anything it encounters. The blue shark, on the other hand, is much calmer.

López explained: ‘Even when they hunt, they feed on prey, on carrion. . . If any live prey shows scars from its bite, it is most likely that the blue shark has tried to check if it was dead, and dispensed with it when it saw that it was not.

In conclusion, the coordinator added a caution: ‘To begin with we can say that they are harmless, but we cannot forget that they have a mouth full of teeth.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.

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