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Sharks in Cornwall

Sharks are misunderstood creatures who play a vital role in the balance of our ecosystem

We have over 40 species of sharks off the Cornish coast. Including some of the fastest, rarest, largest and most highly migratory in the world.

It’s fair to say that the numbers of sharks off our coast show the health of our waters. They are all incredible creatures that have existed since before the dinosaurs. All have adapted perfectly to their environment.

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Sharks FAQ

Your questions about Sharks answered.

Which species of shark live off the Cornish coast?

Here’s a glimpse into our favourite three sharks seen in Cornwall:

Basking Shark

The basking shark is a summer visitor to our coastline. As the second biggest fish in the world, these gentle giants are always a highlight of our summer. They are easy to spot from the boat, feeding at a leisurely pace near the surface. Perhaps not surprisingly the basking shark was once hunted heavily off our coast. Luckily such times have passed and now can be seen in strong numbers. However, it’s hard to say exactly, as these beautiful creatures are largely not understood by science. For the best part of the year, we have absolutely no idea where they go.


In contrast, we have Porbeagles, which are present in Cornish waters all year round. They are cousins of the great white and mako sharks all part of the mackerel group. Amazingly these sharks can regulate their body temperature above that of the surrounding water.

Shortfin Mako

Just like the speedy and fearsome Shortfin Mako. This menacing-looking shark has a metallic blue shine and a grimace-toothed smile. The mako is the fastest shark, swimming in excess of 35 mph, earning it the nickname ‘the cheetah of the ocean’. These migratory sharks travel huge distances around the world’s oceans. They prey on other powerful fish such as tuna and swordfish.

Best boat trips to see Sharks