In Depth

Great white shark spotted near Spanish island of Mallorca

16.5ft fish spotted by crew members of a marine research expedition

A great white shark has been spotted off the coast of Spain for the first time in 30 years.

The 16.5ft (5m) fish was photographed by scientists near the island of Cabrera, just off the southern coast of Mallorca.

Ricardo Sagarminaga van Buiten led the scientific expedition and shared the shot on the Alnitak Facebook page, saying the group had followed and observed the shark for just over an hour.

According to Deutsche Welle, local newspaper Diario de Mallorca said it was a “historic sighting”, as it represented the first time that proof of a live specimen in the Balearic Sea has been brought forth.

The Alnitak team agreed saying: “In recent years there were possible unconfirmed sightings and various rumours, but this is the first scientific observation of the presence of the white shark in Spanish waters for at least 30 years.

“On this occasion, this historic sighting has been photographed, filmed and contemplated by a crew of 10 people from five countries.”

The Alnitak 2018 expedition “bumped into the shark as its ship was roaming the coast of Mallorca to carry out various research activities, such as gathering data on marine animals and microplastic pollution at sea”, says Deutsche Welle.

While shark attacks in Europe are extremely rare, “the predators are far more common than thought”, says The Sun.

Since 1900, there have been more than 200 attacks in the Med - and more than 50 people have lost their lives.

There are also said to be aggressive tiger sharks and bull sharks in the region, but definitive sightings of the these have yet to emerge.

Experts have warned that interactions between humans and sharks are now pretty much unavoidable.

Ian K Fergusson, of Sharkinfo.ch, told The Sun: “Even the slightest hint of a shark attack in the Mediterranean surprises - even horrifies - the many millions of people who visit this region every year.

“The existence of approximately 46 different species of sharks in the Mediterranean - 16 of them measuring three or more metres in length, and 15 being potentially dangerous species - makes the occasional encounter between humans and these animals in the most frequented and most travelled sea unavoidable.”

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