Large predatory sharks, even Great Whites in Hebridean waters?
It sounds improbable even impossible yet Richard Peirce, chairman of the Shark Conservation Society has just visited North Uist to arrange a shark search expedition which will take place in September this year.
“There are records of blue sharks, makos, porbeagles, threshers, tope and others in Western Isles waters,” said Peirce.
In July 2003 Dr Simon Greenstreet and a diving party encountered a large shark when diving near Ullapool, the description they gave of the fish matched that of a Great White shark.
Modern languages teacher Philip Harding from north Uist saw a 16 ft. shark off the island in 2005.
In July 2007 Darren Steadman took some footage in the Sound of Harris which experts don’t rule out having been a Great White.
Peirce continued “I am very excited to be leading this shark search.
“I can’t confirm what species were seen by Simon Greenstreet, Philip Harding and Darren Steadman, but they are all reliable witnesses, and Darren even got some film.
“As far as I am aware an intensive “chumming” exercise for sharks has never been carried out in these waters before, so it will be interesting to see what turns up.
The Shark Conservation Society (SCS) is based in Cornwall, and has carried out many successful research expeditions since 2003 in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, Cornwall, the Arabian Sea and in Kuwait and Qatari waters.
Richard Peirce concluded “In September my wife and I and a team of twelve SCS volunteers will be based in North Uist for over two weeks.
“We’ve rented a shore base, chartered vessels, organised bait, and weather permitting will cover a lot of water. Philip Harding and other North Uist residents have been hugely helpful, and we are looking forward to a successful groundbreaking expedition.
“This is a general shark search it is not, repeat not, a Great White hunt, but wouldn’t it be great if one turned up!”