The world’s fastest shark, which can strike at nearly 50 miles per hour, has been spotted prowling the Spanish coast close to Barcelona.
The extremely rare, eight-foot-long shortfin mako shark is one of the ocean’s most deadly predators.
Its lightning turn of speed, powerful body and fearsome attack habits make it a deadly opportunist.
Some specimens can reach 15 feet in length, although this shark was estimated at about eight feet.
An expert from Spain’s Associacio Cetacea (Cetacean Association) filmed the creature as it swam in the waters off Garraf, Catalonia, on the country’s Mediterranean coast.
Marine biologist Claudio Barria of the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar (Institute of Marine Sciences) in Barcelona spoke to Zenger News in an exclusive interview.
The 41-year-old said: “The video was recorded by the Associacio Cetacea, which is an association with which we collaborate, last weekend.
“This video was recorded within the framework of its project of photo identification of whales and dolphins off the Catalan coast.
“The objective of the project is to monitor cetaceans and seabirds along the Catalan coast, and they were able to observe this shortfin mako shark.
“While they were birdwatching, they saw a 2.5-meter-long [8 foot] shark swimming calmly on the surface, off the coast of Garraf.
“Once they saw it, they contacted us, as we are specialists in sharks, to see what species it was and confirm the sighting.
“We then made a joint press release.”
He went on: “It is a critically endangered species in the Mediterranean, according to IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature]; on the verge of becoming extinct in the Mediterranean, although in the past it was more abundant; now there are fewer and fewer specimens left.
“Its population has decreased more than 60 percent in the last 75 years, and that is why the importance of this observation is that most pelagic sharks (which live on the surface or in midwaters) are threatened with extinction.
“Its main threats are fishing and degradation of its habitat.”
Within Spain’s Mediterranean waters, fishing of shortfin mako sharks is prohibited.
The species (Isurus oxyrinchus) is classified as endangered by the IUCN.
It is in critical danger of extinction in this area of the Mediterranean Sea.
The shark has been on the Spanish list of protected species since 2011.
Like other shark species, it is a victim of the international trade in shark fins, which are highly coveted in Asian markets.
The International Shark Attack File records nine shortfin mako shark attacks on humans between 1580 and 2022 – three fatal – as well as 20 boat attacks.
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