Rare thresher shark spotted off Torbay

The shark was apparently over a meter in length. Credit: Rob Hughes, Devon Sea Safari

An endangered thresher shark has been spotted and captured on camera off the coast of Devon.

The extremely rare sighting happened just off Torbay on Tuesday, 9 June.

A boat load of sea safari boat passengers and the crew were treated to an up-close-and-personal viewing of the long-tailed fish.

Thresher sharks are listed as vulnerable to extinction. Credit: Rob Hughes, Devon Sea Safari

Our Marine Wildlife Sea Safari had a very rare Thresher Shark encounter this morning. It was just over a meter long and breached a few times about 50m in front of the boat in full view of our lucky passenger's. Sighted just off Ore Stone, Torbay at 8.30am today [9 June].

Rob Hughes, Devon Sea Safari
Thresher sharks are famed for their long, scythe-like tails. Credit: Rob Hughes, Devon Sea Safari

All three thresher shark species have been listed as vulnerable to extinction by the World Conservation Union since 2007.

The Thresher Shark can measure 11 ft. in size and the top half of the scythe-like tail fins can be as long as the rest of the animal.

It is believed that the sharks lash out at their prey with these distended fins—hence the name.

Credit: Rob Hughes, Devon Sea Safari

Threshers are not normally associated with British seas because they generally favour the open and deep waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but they are sometimes found in shallow waters near coastal areas.

Rob Hughes, the boat skipper who took the photos, said: "We do occasionally seen them but its only the second time I have managed to capture some photos."