There are a number of shark species that can be found in UK waters including Tiger, Nurse and Basking sharks - but what about great whites?

Great white sharks are among the most feared predators on Earth, striking terror into the hearts of swimmers having been portrayed as the frightening 'villain' in films and TV shows over the years - none more famous than Jaws.

But should beachgoers in the UK be worried about spotting a great white off British shores?

Where can you find great white sharks - are there any in the UK?

Great white sharks can be found in oceans all over the world, more frequently where the temperature of the water is "easy to adapt to and their favourite food is abundant", says the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

National Geographic adds: "While frequently associated with Australia and South Africa, great white sharks tend to be found in temperate and tropical coastal waters all over the planet."

But what about the UK?

South Wales Argus: There have been reported sightings of great white sharks in UK waters dating back to 1965.There have been reported sightings of great white sharks in UK waters dating back to 1965. (Image: Getty Images)

While the great white shark has not been a frequent resident of UK waters, there have been credibly reported sightings dating back to 1965, according to the University of Plymouth.

However, according to the marine experts at Ocearch, they could end up becoming more common in UK waters in the not-too-distant future.

Tracking investigations showed that the creatures have started to regularly swim north as they search for food.

The research group’s founder Chris Fischer, talking to The Times said: “We believe they should be moving up past Brest [in Brittany, France] and Cornwall."

How big can great white sharks get?

A great white shark can grow up to 21 feet in length, according to National Geographic.

They can also get to be up to 4,500 pounds in weight and live for more than 70 years.

A great white shark's size is relative to that of a bus, National Geographic explained.

The shark "hotspots" in the UK

While there may not be many Great Whites in UK waters just yet, there are a variety of other sharks that call local waters home - the full list of which can be found here.


It is estimated around 10 million small and 100,000 larger sharks from across 40 different species are swimming in the seas around the UK, the University of Plymouth said.

But there are two locations in particular that are said to be "hotspots" when it comes to sharks.

Devon and Cornwall are said to be Britain's largest "shark hotspots", according to the University of Plymouth.