Great white shark spotted off Hayling, expert claims

There have been reports of a great white shark off Hayling Island
There have been reports of a great white shark off Hayling Island

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A GREAT white shark has been spotted off the coast of Hayling Island, an expert has said.

Fishing journalist Graeme Pullen says he’s been chasing the shark across the south coast for the past two years – adding that there have been repeated sightings off the shore in Hayling Island.

In a YouTube video, he said: ‘It is scary – it has such an uncanny resemblance to the film Jaws.’

In the video, Mr Pullen speaks to men who claim to have spotted a large dorsal fin while working on Eastney beach.

Portsmouth commercial fisherman Pete Williams revealed that he caught what he believes is the great white shark in his net.

He explained: ‘We catch loads of sharks and loads of different species throughout the year.

‘Over the years we have seen the warmer water temperatures, so there’s different species turning up along the south coast.

‘We were out fishing in the dark and we had an encounter through a net – it took the net away. When we came back to the same place, the same thing happened.

‘It was huge – the biggest shark I’ve ever seen. It was more than capable of doing damage to me.

‘I wasn’t getting in the water, I can tell you that; but there’s no reason why there can’t be a species like that kicking around.’

Shark angler Wayne Comben went straight out to try and catch the shark.

He said: ‘I got a phone call from a good friend of mine. He told me did spark my interest, but I was quite sceptical.

‘I sometimes have to travel for miles to find sharks – I really had no doubt that there was something in this.

‘I was in my boat, in the harbour, and put my hand on the throttle – I looked up and I have had to do a double take. What I saw was a big shark fin, just disappearing down into the water.

‘I really didn’t know what to make of it; this is a harbour here, you do not expect to see a big shark in the harbour.’

Machine operator Jason Carpenter also saw the shark first-hand; he says that his fellow crew members were stunned to see the fin rising above the water.

He explained: ‘We were working down on Eastney shore, replacing the groyne markers.

‘We were working away – I turned around to look out into the water and saw a large fin heading out towards sea.

‘I must have watched it for a good half a mile. The size of it worried me quite a bit – I tracked off the beach, making sure I didn’t get eaten!

‘I spoke to the other guys about it; they both saw it and decided they weren’t going to be swimming in the Solent for a while – at least until it is caught.’

Stuart Parks, 28, is an accounts assistant for Viviers in Gunwharf Quays. He says that the company – which sells fresh fish caught in Solent waters – has not come across the shark just yet, but that it is certainly believable that it is there.

He said: ‘We know Pete Williams quite well, so are aware of his story about seeing the shark.

‘I can’t be sure until I see it myself, but there was some tuna caught once recently – so it isn’t impossible.’

Click here to find out just how likely it is to see a shark in the Portsmouth region.