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‘Great white shark’ sighted off South Coast

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It is quite early for ‘shark silly season' to kick off in the mainstream media, but various outlets were touting a sighting of a possible great white shark off the South Coast on 4 February – while the grainy shot more likely shows a chubby seal ‘bottling' at the surface, or even the end of an outflow pipe, according to some.

Web designer James Venn was apparently on the beach at Goring-by-Sea in West Sussex when he saw something come up behind the waves. He said: “I couldn't make out what it was so I followed it along the shore. It then surface, so I ran to grab my camera and looked out to try and see it again before taking the photos.

“At the time I thought it was a seal but, when I looked at the photos again, I thought it doesn't look like a seal so it was something else.”

The 'shark fin' is thought to be a fat seal 'bottling' at the surface
The ‘shark fin' is thought to be a fat seal ‘bottling' at the surface

Before sending the images to ‘shark experts', he commented: “I'm still 50/50 about whether it's a shark or seal.”

He sent the image to veteran shark fisherman Graeme Pullen, who said it was ‘an undisputed shark' and ‘could only be a juvenile great white shark who was looking for seals'.

However, many people who have seen the image on Social Media have agreed it is far more likely to be a chubby, contented seal ‘bottling' at the surface, while some even say it is just the end of an outfall pipe that can protrude out of the water at certain tide times.

Photo credit: James Venn/Totally Awesome Fishing Facebook

Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editor-in-Chief Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. 30-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.

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