There have been no sightings of
Carcharodon carcharias in inshore Irish waters thus far. But that might soon change. Carcharodon carcharias, for those who did not see a Latin language version of the movie “Jaws,” is the Great White Shark.
The belief that Great Whites might be patrolling Irish waters follows the catching last week off Ireland’s Southwest coast of a species of shark called the Sevengill or Cow Shark.
The Sevengill was well off its station. It usually inhabits warmer waters far to the South of Ireland.
But its capture near the Fastnet rock off Cork was no big surprise to some because the ocean around Ireland, and the air temperature enveloping the island, have been warming up for some time.
The Sevengill is a favorite prey of the Great White so the view is that the big sharks, which can reach 23 feet in length, can’t be far behind.
Indeed, they may already be in Irish waters. Great Whites have been spotted off Cornwall in England and the West coast of Scotland whose shore, like western and Southern Ireland’s, is lapped by the tepid waters of the Gulf Stream.
We can only wonder what the late actor Robert Shaw would make of all this. Shaw, of course, played the salty Quint in Jaws and was in fact a resident of Tormakeady, Co. Mayo at the time of his untimely death, which, unlike the film, occurred on dry land far from the teeth of a fearsome predator that could already be casting its cold doll’s eyes to the seas surrounding the Ould Sod.