COUNTY NEWS: Video of sharks swarming in Sussex waters

A school of around 50 sharks invaded the coastal waters of a nature reserve in Sussex on Wednesday morning.

Thursday, 16th July 2015, 1:48 pm
The Shark Trust's guide to the Smooth-hound shark.

This amazing video shows the huge number of triangular fins sticking out of shallow water at RSPB Medmerry near Selsey, Chichester.

The unprecedented sight was captured by RSPB warden Peter Hughes on Wednesday, July 15.

He said: “It was astonishing! There were just these huge fish everywhere in knee-deep water.”

The Shark Trust's guide to the Smooth-hound shark.

The sharks measured up to 5ft in length and were identified as smooth-hounds, a type of shark usually found offshore in coastal waters.

It is thought they came inshore to feed on the crabs in the shallows.

Mr Hughes said: “We knew in time that Medmerry was going to be a great place for wildlife, but I don’t think anyone expected this. “We assume they were coming in to feed on the crabs and other marine life that have made their home at Medmerry.”

Medmerry is the largest open-coast managed realignment scheme ever in the UK, and was created by the Environment Agency between 2011 and 2013.

Though a school this size coming into shallow water is extremely rare, there have been other shark sightings in the area.

Two smooth-hounds were seen in Medmerry in mid-June, while six were seen in nearby RSPB Pagham Harbour around the same time.

Smooth-hounds are a relatively common native shark species around British coastal waters, although they are rarely seen.

They are known to feed largely on crabs and other invertebrates, and often travel in groups, growing up to 5ft.

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