Are There Sharks In Cornwall?




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Cornwall attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. However, is this stunning county home to sharks too?

Short answer – yes!

The county of Cornwall is popular for being home to several sea life creatures, including the gentle blue sharks and the huge basking sharks. However, this does not mean visiting the spots where they live is unsafe, so don’t cancel your Cornwall trip just yet! 

In this blog post, we will walk through the various shark species that inhabit the water bodies of Cornwall. We will also explore all the necessary safety measures to keep in mind as you visit British waters. 

Let us get started. 

What Shark Species Can Be Found In Cornwall?

1. Basking Sharks

Basking sharks are one of the most commonly encountered sharks in Cornwall. Generally, a healthy basking shark can grow up to 10 metres long. Hence, it is no surprise that it is the second-largest shark species in the world. 

The basking sharks pose little to no threat to humans. However, while the size of a basking shark may be intimidating, it is known to be a gentle sea organism – for humans, at least. They are also called filter feeders because they filter plankton and small fish species from their surroundings for food. 

2. Porbeagle Sharks

Porbeagle sharks are another shark species found in the county of Cornwall. If you ever get a glimpse of one, you will notice how this shark has a streamlined body and a set of very sharp teeth. However, these gentle giants are not notorious for attacking the masses. 

A Porbeagle shark is known to feed on different kinds of fish and cephalopods, and its palette does not have a place for human flesh. While they occasionally approach fishing vessels near the water bodies, these sharks rarely encounter humans.

3. Blue Shark

If you spot a slender-bodied organism with striking blue pigmented skin in the sea, pat yourself on the back for identifying a Blue Shark! These sharks, found only in open ocean environments, are known to be curious creatures (just like us).

However, that does not mean you must be scared of blue sharks. People often encounter the blue shark population during their stay at the Cornish beaches.

4. Mako Shark

Now that we are done with the commonly found gentle giants of Cornwall, it is time to move on to creatures like the notorious Mako shark. Although they rarely visit the Cornwall waters, let alone come up to the surface of the sea, you should know about them before you visit any beach. 

Mako sharks are very agile and swim quickly across their path in the water, which helps them carry out shark attacks effortlessly. These predators possess slender and long bodies and sharp teeth. While dangerous, Mako sharks are rarely spotted in the UK waters. 

5. Thresher Shark

Thresher Sharks are yet another kind of shark that is rarely spotted on the Cornish coast. While they are not as big as a whale shark, you should know about them to prevent shark attacks while staying in Cornwall.  

You can identify a Thresher shark by its long and whipped tail, which is used to stun its prey. Some Thresher sharks swim in the deeper regions of the Cornish waters. Hence, you might spot this extremely rare shark if you ever dive deep to explore marine life.  

Things To Keep In Mind As You Visit Cornish Beaches

1. Read The Signs Of Danger

As you explore the Cornish coast, do not skip the signs put up in certain regions. These informative boards or signs are specially set up to warn visitors about the possibility of sharks on Cornwall beaches. Hence, no matter how high your adrenaline rush is – never overlook such signs.

The best way to never miss out on the potential signs of sharks in Cornwall would be to familiarise yourself with the safety protocols thoroughly. Ensure that you listen to all the safety measures that any lifeguard or authority figure warns you of and adhere to them.  

2. Stay Careful While Enjoying Water Activities

As you enjoy your water activities, such as swimming, surfing, or kayaking, stay vigilant and do not lose sight of where you have been instructed to stay. If you travel too far from the safe zone in the water, you may be at an increased risk of a shark attack in British waters. 

You should also note that while you may feel the urge to head over to sites where marine life, such as dolphins and seals, are present, so do sharks. Hence, if you want to avoid the more sinister counterparts of blue sharks who may think of you as food, ensure you enjoy the water activities in your assigned region. 

3. Be A Responsible Citizen

Now that we are aware of the major safety measures that one should take to prevent shark encounters, it is important to stress your role as a visitor too. While you should enjoy your boat trips, rock pooling adventures, and so on – never do it at the cost of compromising marine lives like sharks.

One of the best ways to be a responsible tourist in Cornwall would be to not throw trash anywhere except the trash can. This way, sea creatures like sharks will not ingest harmful substances from their surroundings. Further, respect the instructions your guides gave to save additional efforts on their part to save you from potential threats such as shark attacks. 


Now that you have the answer to the question, “Are there sharks in Cornwall?” you can take the necessary precautions before visiting your favourite Cornwall site. While you should always avoid these deadly creatures, you can still learn more about them via your guides or locals. 

Apart from the ones mentioned above, you may also encounter bull huss sharks, the great white shark, etc., while swimming through cornish waters such as the North Atlantic Ocean. Ensure you follow all the necessary precautions to stay safe on your trip to this county. 


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