Great white shark ‘heading’ for British waters

A great white shark. Could one be headed for Britain? Picture: ScubaDan/Flickr
A great white shark. Could one be headed for Britain? Picture: ScubaDan/Flickr
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A great white shark currently around 1000 miles off the Cornish coast could be the first of its species to cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Lydia, a 15ft-long great white could arrive in Cornish waters later this week if she keeps to her current path and maximum swim speed of 35mph.

American scientists from the Ocearch project have been tracking Lydia’s progress for 19,000 miles, after fitting her with a satellite tag near Florida.

And Lydia has travelled 380 miles - roughly the distance between Edinburgh and Bristol - in the past 72 hours, and is currently near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

She will be the first recorded great white shark to make the crossing if she swims over the divide.

Dr Gregory Skomal, senior fisheries biologist at Massachusetts Marine Fisheries confirmed that Lydia was now closer to Europe than North America.

He told the Telegraph: “No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west.

“Although Lydia is closer to Europe than North America, she technically does not cross the Atlantic until she crosses the mid-Atlantic ridge, which she has yet to do.

“We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible.”

First tagged in March 2013 off the coast of Jacksonville, Lydia is around 3,000 miles from her start point.

The Ocearch project is tracking sharks to learn more about their movements, biological behaviour and health.

It is not unusual for Great White Sharks to swim long distances; in 2003, a shark nicknamed Nicole swam from South Africa to Australia and back - a round distance of 12,400 miles.