A dead shark was spotted being offloaded from a boat in a Cornwall port, leading to calls for fishermen to release them if they are caught.
The shark, which appears to be of the thresher species, was pictured being taken off a Mevagissey based fishing vessel on Friday.
The animal appeared to be dead after being caught and not released by fishermen out at sea, although this remains unconfirmed.
The shark was being offloaded from a fishing vessel called ‘Trust’, which is based at the south coast fishing port.
Thresher sharks, which can grow up to 4.5 metres in length, are a migratory species which pass through UK waters in the summer months.
A spokesperson for the Shark Trust, a shark conservation charity, said: “From these photos it’s certainly apparent that this is a thresher shark, but we can’t determine which species it is without seeing closer photos.
“Common thresher sharks are seasonal visitors to British waters and can sometimes be seen spectacularly breaching out of the water in pursuit of their prey.
“Although it’s prohibited to actively target them in Atlantic waters, it’s legal to land common thresher sharks if caught as bycatch. A similar species, the bigeye thresher sharks, is also present in the Atlantic. If these are caught they should not be retained.”
Last month, there was outrage after a blue shark was ‘paraded’ through the crowds at Plymouth Seafood Festival before being cooked and eaten as part of a demonstration in scenes that sparked outrage and condemnation from the public and leading conservation charities.
A photograph of the shocking incident – which happened as the city celebrated Plymouth Sound becoming a National Marine Park – was then posted on the city tourist board Visit Plymouth’s official Instagram page.
Blue sharks are listed as near-threatened globally and, although there are no limits on catches in UK waters, there have been calls to better protect them.
The organisers of the hugely popular Plymouth Seafood Festival said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the incident, adding they would put measures in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The Ocean Conservation Trust, which runs Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium , famed for its work protecting under-threat sharks, led the criticism of the scenes witnessed on the city’s historic Barbican.