Angler catches 23 stone shark off the coast of North Yorkshire after increased sightings reported this summer (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Angler catches 23 stone shark off the coast of North Yorkshire after increased sightings reported this summer
A YOUNG angler has caught a prize haul off the North Yorkshire coast - a 23 stone porbeagle shark.
Whitby charter angler Richard Ward’s 21-year-old nephew Ben Kitchingman landed the shark earlier this week – and his catch was only just smaller than a 26 stone porbeagle caught in June.
The porbeagle is related to the Great White shark, and has been frequently spotted off the North Yorkshire coast this summer.
Mr Ward, who runs the Shy Torque charter boat, has been sea fishing for 30 years and catching, tagging and releasing sharks out of Whitby for the last eight years.
He said this summer he had seen more than ever in North Yorkshire waters, and added: “We have had a cracking year this year – we caught three on our first trip.”
Marine wildlife experts say porbeagles are usually confined to warmer waters in southern England, but there had been seven sightings of groups of about four near North Yorkshire this summer.
They said as porbeagles maintain a higher body temperature than the surrounding water, they may be heading north in a bid to cool off.
Mr Ward said: “There have always been sharks out there but we are the only ones out of Whitby that ever go for them so it is often easy pickings for us.
“It is hit and miss most years but this year we have caught at least one shark on every trip we have been out on.”
Mr Ward said it can take between two and three hours to haul a large shark on deck because of their immense weight and because they put up a good fight.
“I got my first bite recently – we brought it on the deck and it rolled over and caught my arm. I didn’t feel it straight away but I knew it had done some damage because his teeth had gone through my overalls and there was blood all over my hand,” he said.
“It was only about quarter of an inch away from my main artery so I was lucky really. But it’s all part of the job.”
Mr Ward and his crew are members of a shark tagging project run by Dr Ken Collins at the National Oceanography Centre at Southampton University.
Sharks are measured in length and girth to give an approximate weight, and the sex is determined before they are tagged and released.
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