Sharks In Scotland – What You Need To Know

Have you heard of sharks in Scotland? If not, then don’t worry you are at the right place. In today’s article, we will see the updated list of sharks in Scotland. Let’s get started. 

So, Can You Find Sharks In Scotland? Yes, you can find sharks in Scotland. Scotland is the northerly part of the UK. Moreover, the place is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean from the north and west side, the Irish Sea and North Channel from the southwest, and the North Sea from the sea.

As you think, being surrounded by so much water, you can find various species of sharks in Scotland. 

The sharks in Scotland include-Basking shark, Spiny dogfish, Sandy ray, Porbeagle shark, Portuguese dogfish, Leafscale Gulper Shark, Common stake and Blue shark Respectively

Sharks In Scotland – What You Need To Know

8 Sharks That Live In Scottish Waters

Basking shark

These are huge sharks that can even grow up to 10 metres in length and several tonnes in weight.

Basking sharks can easily swim up from the south of England to binge on plankton. 

You can see basking sharks from April till autumn. Also, if your luck is with you, you may see one of them from the shore. 

However, the best way to catch their glimpse is to go outside and find them through boat tours. 

Spiny dogfish

Spiny dogfish

Spiny dogfish can reach up to 1.6 metres in length and are one of the biggest shark species in the world.

Moreover, it is widespread in Scottish water and you can find it above the sea bed.

To be precise, at a depth of around 10-200 metres. 

Sandy Ray

Sandy Ray

This creature is usually found on muddy or sandy sea beds in northwestern Scotland.

This is the most common area you will find sandy rays, however, you can also see them in other coastline areas.

The sandy ray is 70 cm in length and sometimes can reach up to 1.2 metres. 

Porbeagle shark

Porbeagle shark

This shark can reach up to 3.5 meters in length and you can usually find it in mid-water.

However, it can also come to the shallower water.

Porbeagle sharks are widely distributed around Scotland, still, they are considered rare.

Portuguese dogfish

Portuguese dogfish is 1.2 metres long and are found at 400-2700m depth in the abyssal plain and continental Slope.

To be precise, Portuguese dogfish on the continental slope of the Outer Hebrides. 

Leafscale Gulper Shark

This is a dogfish of the Centrophoridae family. You can find them on the northwest and far west coasts of Scotland.

The length of the Leafscale Gulper Shark is usually 1.6 metres.

Moreover, you can find them 230 metres – 2360 metres deep. Therefore, it is not possible to spot them around the coastline.

Common skate

Common skate is of two species. 

The first one is the larger flapper skate. It can grow up to 2.5 metres in length.

You will find it in 600metre deep water. Moreover, you can spot it all around Scotland.  

The second species is slightly smaller. It is known as blue skate.

You will less often encounter it around Scotland than the larger flapper skate. 

Blue shark

Blue shark

The blue shark is easily found in the offshore areas of west Scotland and Rockall Bank.

It grows up to 3.8 metres. You can find it in 600 metres of deep water.

Are There Great White Sharks In Scotland?

The answer to this question is no. There are no great white sharks in Scotland. However, according to wildlife online there are some reports that claim the occasional visit of great white sharks. There are many stories over recent years but there has never been a single confirmed episode of sighting a great white shark in Scotland. 

Scientifically speaking, the water in Scotland is not suitable for great white sharks. They prefer to swim in water that has temperatures between 12 to 24 degrees Celsius. 

Where are sharks found in Scotland?

Sharks are mostly found in and around Oisgill, Milovaig, and Neist during summer. According to Scottish Natural Heritage, the Isle of Coll is a potential breeding ground for basking sharks. 

Are there sharks in Isle of Wight?

The Isle of Wight is among the top ten shark-spotting locations in Britain. National Geographic did scientific research and prepared a list of shark spotting locations in the country. According to them, the top four shark spotting locations are-

  • Cornwall
  • Scilly Isles
  • Devon
  • Isle of Wight

Have there ever been shark attacks in the UK?

The Shark Trust(UK charitable organisation) says that no unprovoked shark bite incidents have ever happened in the UK for 175 years. Shark attacks are very rare in the Uk.

Are Sharks In Scotland A Protected Species?

The basking shark is a protected species in Scotland. Since 1998, there has been full legal protection for basking sharks.

In 2020, a protected area was designated for minke whales, basking sharks, and a few more. This area is known as the Sea of the Hebrides Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Are Basking Sharks In Scotland Dangerous To Humans?

No, basking sharks are not dangerous to humans however, still they are large and their skin is very rough. Therefore, it is better to be cautious while dealing with basking sharks. 

Are There Sharks In Loch Lomond?

Yes, there are shark species in Loch Lomond, Scotland. To be precise, you can find basking sharks in Loch Lomond. Moreover, this place is home to native sharks like lesser spotted dogfish. You can find them in British water. Despite their name, dogfish are members of the family Catshark. 

Are There Sharks In the Firth Of Clyde?

Yes, you can spot sharks in the Firth of Clyde. There usually utilises the summer plankton blooms of Clyde. Until 1994, the basking shark fishery was very exploited by humans in Clyde. 

You can find the basking sharks cruising in the Clyde and their population here is recovering slowly. 

Are There Sharks In The North Sea By Scotland?

Yes, you can find sharks in the North Sea by Scotland. Basically, there are 3 types of sharks – 

  1. Smoothhound
  2. Catshark
  3. Dogfish

You will not see them on the Belgian coast. They are commonly found on the English and Scottish coasts. 

How can you tell if a shark is near?

How to tell if a shark is near you –

  • Keep an eye on the fish/birds. If you see fish jumping or birds diving, then this could mean that there is a larger predator like a shark present near you. 

Are there great whites in the UK?

It is very rare to find the great white shark in the UK as it prefers warm water. You can find it in the Indian ocean, Pacific ocean, Mediterranean sea and Atlantic ocean. 

Are porbeagle sharks related to great white?

The Porbeagle sharks are members of the Lamnidae family of sharks. These are the close relatives of the great white sharks.  

Are there blue sharks in UK waters?

You can see Blue sharks in UK waters during the summer season. This is due to the warming seas. You can see charter boats in the west and south of England, Wales, and Ireland that take out anglers to catch the blue sharks.

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