According to research by the University of Southampton, 10 species of sharks that are currently found in warmer waters could soon be calling the ocean surrounding the United Kingdom home within three decades due to climate change.
The research highlights that by 2050, 10 species are expected to migrate to the cooler waters as sea temperatures heat up globally including blacktip and hammerhead sharks which currently reside in the waters off the coast of Portugal and Spain.
During the last century, sea surface temperatures have increased by an average of 0.13°F per decade according to the Environmental Protection Agency. As well, global sea temperatures are predicted to increase by 1.2 to 3.2°C (2.2-5.8°F) by 2100, according to a UK Government Office for Science report.
Currently, 40 species of sharks are found in the ocean around the UK, but overall numbers of sharks are actually dropping due to overfishing.
“Though while the potential number of shark species around the UK may increase in the next few decades, the overall number of sharks, especially the larger ones, will fall as a result of over-fishing, plastic waste and climate change,” said study leader Dr Ken Collins.
It is of the utmost importance to limit the impact of man-made climate change but overfishing is almost just as big a threat to the health of the ocean.
The ten sharks that are predicted to make their way to Ireland are the great hammerhead, blacktip, sand tiger, bigeye thresher, longfin mako, bronze whaler, oceanic whitetip, silky, dusky, and goblin shark.