First Ever All-White Leucistic Shark Caught Off Coast Of Britain
The first ever all-white shark to be caught off the coast of Britain was snared earlier this week near the Isle of Wight.
Shop fitter Jason Gillespie was deep-sea fishing with some friends on Tuesday, September 29, when he reeled in the three-foot, pure white tope shark.
The shark’s unusual colouring is the result of leucism, a condition which means it lost all the pigment in its skin.
Jason, 50, said he would usually release a tope shark immediately, but this particular catch was so unexpected that he reeled it in to take some pictures before releasing it back to sea.
Describing the shark as the ‘fish of a lifetime’, he said:
I’ve been fishing for 30 years and I’ve never seen one like that. Apparently it’s a condition where the pigment dies out of the skin colour. It’s similar to an albino, but they have red eyes generally.
I caught it off the Isle of Wight – what’re the chances? I have no idea… [it’s] one in a million.
I’ve certainly never seen one, it’s been on Facebook since Tuesday and no one else has come forward and said they have caught one. I heard of one person from Wales who caught one years ago but it was much smaller, about 6lb.
Jason said that fish which lose their colour can struggle to survive because they can’t camouflage themselves to hide from predators and prey.
The 50-year-old continued:
With tope, they are a protected species, so we unhook them in the water, but the minute we saw this one I shouted to my mate to grab the net and knew I needed to get some photos of it so we pulled her on board and took some pictures.
We released her as quick as possible, she was only on the boat for less than a minute.
Tope shark feed on a variety of fish species, crustaceans or cephalopods, and while they are often found in the UK they can travel huge distances.
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