• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Seal Attack In UK

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.

Stevie T

Well-Known Member
Jan 27, 2003
Just heard about a local guy that got badly bitten by a seal a couple of weeks ago in my local harbour, he was shooting mullet and had a couple in a net bag around his waste.

Apparently he then swam past the pier structure and out of the dark something flew out at him and went for the bag of fish, it missed the fish and took a large chunk out of his leg which resulted in a very nasty injury.

Just goes to show that even though we don't have to contend with the sharks in the UK we should not be too casual as there are still things out there that can give a nasty nip!

Holy sh*t!

I supose it has been waiting to happen for a while - I've got to tell my spearing mates about this!
I guess that he was lucky that the fish was around his waist, Imagine if the fish had floated up and were around his neck?
I would always be in favour of keeping fish well away from my body, even in supposedly non sharky waters I have seen enough large Porbeagles landed here in my local port to not discount the possibility.
Dive safe and use a float.

Seals will not go for your fish if it is inside a bag. They seem to lose interest when they can't see the fish, even though they can probably smell it.

Was probably just defending its territory.

And yes, they DO bite and can inflict nasty wounds. Their teeth are bigger than a dogs!!!!

Simply treat ALL sea life with the utmost respect, and all will be well. (at least most of the time!!!:D :D )


I've often wondered about the likelyhood of encountering sharks around the UK whilst free diving/spearfishing.

They do occasionally come in close, and only last year whilst rod and line fishing I personally saw a large shark of around 2-3m off Chesil Beach in Dorset. It definately was not a Basking Shark, which are quite common around here in the summer as it was far too slender and a much smaller head.

I cannot be 100% sure but i'm pretty confident it was a Blue that had come in feeding on the shoals of mackerel. For those that do not know Chesil Beach is a very steep shingle bank that is a natural sea defence which spreads for 18 miles east to west and at its western end is around 10m deep only 10m from shore which then slopes sharply to around 18m.

Now I know Blues are more pelagic deep water sharks but i'm pretty convinced thats what I saw.

Miles maybe in SA the seals have manners but here especially when they associate man with food they most definately will go through bags to get fish, There WAS a V large seal that was tearing holes in salmon cages to get at the salmon till the farmer persuaded him to stop.
I would agree wholeheartedly with your comment about treating all sealife with respect, whether larger than you or not makes no difference.
Funnily enough regarding blue sharks I spoke with a charter boat skipper today and he caught and released a 80lb blue the fish had already been caught earlier from the same boat and broke the mono line , came back for more!
I would treat a blue even a small one with great respect, their teeth are the serrated type White, tiger etc and would have no problem altering a wetsuit.especially if there was fish in the water to make it excited.
Check your PMs . I was going out spearing tonight but I think I might stay in now!.
Stevie T
that may have been a tope, tope are offen caught along there
Yeah never thought about a Tope to be honest, good chance it may have been.

If it was then it was one hell of a Tope!

One Tope was caught with rod and line at Selsey Bill, Sussex and it was 6ft long and 93lb
I doubt that tope would just attack without first having a look first, most sharks will circle and check out an object before they mouth it.
Tope are not that aggressive.
The following sharks (amongst others) that occur off the cornish coast are:

Common Thresher





Blue Sharks
And others.....

It's interesting that two of the above species (Porbeagle and Mako) are both from the same family as the GWS.

There was a recent research trip in the UK to attempt to spot a GWS, I don't know if it was a success......

My 2p........Don't tie your fish on your belt!...........But the likelihood of encountering one of these in the UK is fairly rare - you could of course narrow the odds by being in one of the places where they have been spotted and by having flashers near you, and a bleeding fish or 5 hanging on your waist.....but hey - what are the chances right?

Edited to say - a friend of mine got bitten on the ankle by a seal whilst bodyboarding in Newquay - he had 36 stitches from one bite.........and that was back in about 91/92 seals aren't as friendly as you think...
Last edited:
There WAS a V large seal that was tearing holes in salmon cages to get at the salmon till the farmer persuaded him to stop.

we just shoot them over here when they do that :naughty
Note; I said WAS
The salmon farmers commonly use 12 gauge as persuasion.....
I often wonder if a good sized seal would be a good test for a bluewater gun.
I reckon it would put a reasonable strain on the rigging.
To my knowledge Mako's are extremely rare around Britain and Ireland and Europe in general, In the last few years there have been only 2 that I have seen and they were caught well south somewhere round 47 South and 13-14 West which is a long way from here, fortunately.
One other shark we get is the Bluntnose Sixgill which although appearing somewhat stupid is equipped with a good set of Triangular serrated teeth much like a Tiger shark, I have seen several of these around Ireland but usually small.
Bottom line for me is use a mean of keeping the fish away from yourself. I alone out of all my friends use a float , I know it is a hassle towing one but at least the fish are not slowing you down, you can carry a bottle of water a camera and a dive flag as required by law and if you cramp or feel tired you can lie on it.
Last edited:
There was an 18ft Great White spotted off the coast of Padstow in Cornwall a couple of years ago. Now most of the time you would doubt the authenticity of such a claim, but the guys that claim to have seen it are all well respected Skippers and Anglers with far to higher reputation to exagerate sighting.

They were all out fishign for Porbeagles when in the chum trail the GWS appeared, one of the crew was a South African skipper workign in the UK who had many years of first hand experience with GWS, another was Henry Gilbey, a well established angling author and TV presenter.

There are also a handful of reports of them being sighted off The Eddystone Reef in years gone by.

My thoughts are that our western coastline is perfect for them, deep water, rugged coast, plenty of seals and dolphins and water temperatures that average between 15-20deg C during the summer months.

I have always had a huge passion for sharks and would love to belive that such a fish could be swimming around our coast provided that it stays well clear of me!

Whilst on the subject of unusual fish around the UK, this year has seen a huge increase of Triggers around Dorset, Blue Fin Tuna being netted out from Plymouth and reports of Barracuda around the Mumbles and Eddystone. Who says we don't get big fish around the UK!!!

I have had this discussion many times with mates surfers , windsurfers , scuba divers(yeah I talk to em!) etc and I would agree with you as regards all your points ,Except for the fact that there have been no reports of white sharks north of Brittany in the last 100 yrs.
If they were in these waters I would have expected to see at least some caught in commercial fishing gear.
On the bright side we should be looking at Tuna esp. Albacore they are nice size , plentiful and come quite close to the coast.
Bluefin, although awesome fish are just too much for me at the moment , gear gun floats etc etc .
Last edited:
Y'know, this is an interesting post. GWS off the Calif. coast are seal eaters par excellence and the water here can't be that much warmer than that off the UK. You have the Gulf Stream bringing warm water north and we have the Japan Current bringing cold water south. So, if you have an expanding seal population I would expect to start seeing Carcharodon in your area and I don't care what has happened in the last 100 years. That was then, this is now. And, no, I wouldn't hang fish from my belt either.
Interesting accounts, shame that the photos never came out.
here is another link to the topic that we are now discussing.

On the subject of Bluefin, they have always been around britain and ireland , in fact there was a dedicated fishery for them off scarborough many years ago.The North Sea stock disappeared the same time as the japanese had record landings of bluefin off Brazil, so the disappearance is possibly related.
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.