Sharks in Ireland
100s of shark species are distributed in waters throughout the world.
Some are as huge as great whites, while others are as little as sand sharks.
Given that they are apex predators of the water, they may give people serious harm and even death.
On the other hand, sharks play a key role in local marine life ecosystems by being an indication of ocean health and preserving the species below them.
They eliminate the ill and weak while retaining the balance with rivals to ensure variety.
If you’ve visited Ireland, you may assume there are no sharks in the surrounding seas, but is it true?
Keep reading to find out!
So… Are There Sharks in Ireland?
Contrary to common opinion, about 35 shark species have been spotted in the seas near Ireland, including the second biggest fish in the sea, the basking shark!
While many places of Ireland are rugged with cliffs that tumble into the ocean, there are beaches inhabitants visit in the summer.
However, as in most other places of the globe, shark attacks are relatively infrequent since there other more practical safeguards that must be followed.
Read more: Are there reindeer in Ireland?
Shark Species in Ireland
As the world’s second-largest living fish and shark, the basking shark is one of only three plankton-eating species alongside the megamouth and whale sharks.
Adult males may grow up to 36 feet or more in length.
This shark is the gentle giant of the water, simply eating plankton!
The blue shark got its name from having a stunning and attractive metallic blue back, which gives superb concealment in the open ocean.
These are frequent in the Irish waters during the summer months, having migrated from the Caribbean via the Gulf Stream.
The nursehound doesn’t appear like a typical shark but rather like a catfish.
This nocturnal predator targets smaller fish near to the bottom and features dark skin with black spots to aid with concealment.
The Porbeagle shark is member of the Lamnidae family, making it a close cousin of the great white shark.
This shark variety is most usually found in deeper seas where it hunts tiny fish, including herring, whiting, and mackerel, as well as cuttlefish, squid, and octopus.
Formerly known as the lesser-spotted dogfish, the catshark is a tiny species coated in black spots for protection.
While all sharks have rough skin, the catshark possesses dermal denticles and small skin teeth that feel like sandpaper.
It affords the shark enough chain-mail protection.
The spurdog shark receives its name from the spines on the front of its dorsal fin.
This shark utilizes its spines to protect itself by curling into a bow stance and then striking back at the predator with considerable power that might inflict harm.
This beautiful and slender shark species is most usually sighted near shore and may grow up to six feet long.
This shark kind may attack at low water levels if it’s hungry or feels threatened.
The thresher shark goes through the Irish seas throughout summer because it’s a migratory species.
These sharks in ireland prefer leaping high out of the water like dolphins to view the world above the waterline.
Other species include the school shark, bramble shark, leaf scale gulper shark, Atlantic ghost catshark, ghost catshark, and Portuguese dogfish shark.
Read more: Are there midges in ireland? 2023
Is it Safe to Swim in Ireland?
Open seas surrounding Ireland are an unpredictable and uncontrolled swimming environment, so it’s crucial to follow these safety rules to keep safe.
Always Have a Partner with You
While this may sound straightforward, you want to avoid swimming in Irish waters alone if an incident happens.
This is the most critical guideline while swimming in a chilly ocean with numerous risks.
Whoever you bring doesn’t need to be in the water with you, but keep an eye on you in case aid is necessary.
Become Familiar with Rip Currents
Rip currents are a threat, particularly in the ocean.
These tiny but powerful currents rush away from the beach beneath the waves.
They exist to carry the water carried to the shoreline by waves, and back out, and are especially frequent on surfing beaching.
The most major threat of rip currents is they might be tough to identify.
If you end yourself in a rip current channel, stay common and swim to the side, parallel to the coast, until you leave the current.
All Irish beaches have lifeguards and information on rip currents that day, so read them before entering the sea.
Read more: Are there bats in ireland? 2023
Enter the Water Slowly
The Irish waters are chilly enough to produce water shock year-round, thus individuals who swim in the waters progressively adapt to prevent bad responses upon entering.
The ideal approach to enter to prevent cold shock is by stepping in up to the hips, then soaking your face and body, then traversing the whole distance.
Once immersed, perform few breaststrokes, and maintain your head above water to manage breathing
Once in control, proceed toward the shore, and don’t go out too deep.
Familiarize Yourself with Hypothermia Signs
Hypothermia is never associated to freezing water shock; it creeps up gradually and happens when the body’s core temperature goes below 35C.
The initial indicators of hypothermia include continuous shivering, poor energy, and coldness.
Therefore, if you are starting to feel heat loss, it’s vital to quit the water promptly and steadily recover your temperature to remove the symptoms.
Before hypothermia emerges, cold may be exceedingly harmful by causing you to lose hand and foot dexterity, therefore preventing you from leaving the water and getting clothed.
Remain Visible at all Times
You won’t mix with the paints by wearing a brightly-color silicon helmet, such as green, yellow, orange, or pink.
Also, a brightly colored flotation device is crucial to safety, regardless of how skilled a swimmer you are.
Officials also urge you use a tow-float, a brightly colored flotation device that connects to your waist through a leash and floats behind you.
This dramatically increases your visibility and provides compartments for various objects.
Understand Tides and Changing Weather
Quickly changing weather will effect bodies of water differently, depending on the region.
Therefore, it’s vital to understand how weather effects the local Irish beach and how tides are influenced.
The basic guideline is it’s safer to swim no more than an hour on each side of the low or high tides.
However, every place is different, so it’s essential to investigate or consult local safety personnel.
Interesting Shark in Ireland
There are several fascinating facts regarding sharks in Ireland, including:
Three sharks around Ireland are on the Critically Endangered list — angel shark, Porbeagle shark, and Portuguese dogfish.
Three other sharks and two skates are on the Endangered list — leaf-scale gulper shark, basking shark, and spur-dog.
Thirty-five distinct species are spread over the island.
O big white sharks have been spotted in Irish waters, but sightings have occurred in Cornwall, England.
Sharks in Freshwater vs. Saltwater
Like many other animal kinds, freshwater and saltwater sharks can never intermingle since they don’t have the organs to survive fresh or salty waters.
The lone exception to this rule is the bull shark, which can endure brackish or freshwater settings by keeping a constant concentration of water within their body, regardless of whether the salinity levels alter.
This species is typically found 60 miles or more inland along the Mississippi River.
In addition to bull sharks, five more species have been detected in freshwater rivers worldwide but are exceedingly uncommon owing to habitat deterioration.
For one fish to reach the other environment, the connecting lake or river must be broad and deep enough to support the huge animal as it goes upstream.
Saltwater sharks that enter freshwater or brackish seas begin to incur unfavorable health impacts.
First, they get severely dehydrated, despite being surrounded by water, which may impair their senses and wreaks havoc on the reproductive system.
Since saltwater sharks don’t have floating systems on their body, like other freshwater fish, start to sink.
Internally, sharks in inreland have a saltiness concentration greater than the ocean, therefore they keep the freshwater and salt within.
Freshwater is dispersed in their membranes, gills, and mouths, so the surplus is filtered by the kidneys and expelled.
When salty sharks in ireland move to freshwater, they disperse their salt but refill with too much freshwater, thus the kidneys work extra hard to filter the surplus resulting in illness, weakness, and dehydration.
3 Safety Tips for Swimming in Shark-Infested Waters
Although swimming in shark-infested seas is risky and unwanted, it’s become a tourism attraction in coastal communities.
If you want to take this path, then it’s crucial to follow these three safety tips:
Avoid Confusing Situations
If it’s rainy, poor light, foggy, there’s sewage in the water, or fisherman are reeling in bleeding fish around you, these perplexing elements might result in a bewildered, hungry, or interested shark seeking for its next food.
So instead, while going for a dip in shark-infested seas, swim when the circumstances are quiet and normal, like any other day.
When swimming in shark-infested seas, never execute chaotic splashing, which awakens a shark’s interest.
This might notify them that meal is splashing about in the water.
Instead, maintain swimming strokes steady and smooth.
Also, sharks are sensitive to electromagnetic signals, so they may detect excitement and fright or your heart thumping and respond like predators.
Don’t Look Like Shark Food
If there are droves of sharks feasting on the local marine life and coming up close and personal to you, you may want to depart the water so you are clear about being lunch.
This also implies you don’t want to be on a surfboard or paddleboard, which appears like a seal from below the water.
Sharks recognize high-contrast colors utilized by small watercraft makers, such oranges, greens, and brilliant yellows.
Summary Sharks in Ireland
Many shark in ireland species reside in Irish seas, ranging from close the shore to relatively deeper waters.
If you are swimming and come across a shark, it’s vital to stay calm, don’t splash about, avoid confusing scenarios for the shark, and don’t appear like shark meal.
Generally speaking, there are lots of more water threats than the likelihood of stumbling into a shark.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there great white sharks in Irish waters?
Warm-blooded fish do not enter the same waters as their ectothermic relatives.
Since the Irish waters may be chilly, great white sharks don’t go that far north.
However, they only remain brief if they lose sight of their whereabouts and arrive in the Irish seas.
What is the biggest shark in Irish waters?
While the basking shark is present in Irish waters, the biggest shark ever documented off the Irish coast was discovered in April 2022, weighing 500 pounds.
What is the minimum water height for shark attacks in Ireland?
Shark attacks occur in as small as three feet of water, not only far out to sea.
When a shark in ireland navigates near the coast and feels intimidated by a human presence, it might attack unwary swimmers and beachgoers.
Key: Sharks in Ireland
Join the “I Left My Heart in Ireland” in Our Community on Facebook. A place where members can be honest with each other, share their stories and travel photos, and try out a new way to see Ireland together.
By: Travel Pixy