55 dead sharks on Pwll du beach, Gower, 'horrific'

Dead shark Bottom trawling appears to be the reason the fish ended up on the beach

A marine biologist has described the "horrific" sight of 55 small sharks washed up on a Gower beach.

Judith Oakley believes the fish came to rest on Pwll Du beach because of bottom trawling.

The fishing method involves using a large net with heavy weights to drag the seafloor and everything that comes with it.

Ms Oakley said there were three different species on the beach which were spotted on Saturday.

"It was horrific," she said. "There are always grim reminders of why I am so passionate about marine wildlife and protecting it.

"I wandered around the beach in total disbelief. There were dead small sharks - smoothhounds and catsharks - strewn across the strandline, sand and amongst the rocks.

"I counted 55 and have never seen such a terrible image on a Gower shore, and such a tragic death for these incredible animals.

"The animals were all in very good condition and it was pretty obvious that this was a case of discards from bottom trawler bycatch. Even worse is that some of these species can live for up to 25 years."

Ms Oakley added that smoothhounds are important predators in coastal waters because they keep the ecosystem balance in check by targeting shrimp, crabs and small fish.

Dead sharks Smoothhounds and catsharks were strewn across the strandline, sand and amongst the rocks

BBC South West Wales

Weather

Swansea

12 °C 9 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Prostitute in red light district in Seoul, South KoreaSex for soldiers

    How Korea helped prostitutes work near US military bases


  • LuckyDumped

    The rubbish collector left on the scrap heap as his city cleans up


  • Jamal Bryant'Buying black'

    Ferguson campaign targets Black Friday


  • Walmart employees and supporters block off a major intersection near the Walton Family Foundation to stage a protest calling for $15 an hour and consistent full-time work in downtown Washington October 16, 2014. Black mark

    Wal-Mart workers revolt against the annual shopping bonanza


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • UnderwaterHidden depths

    How do you explore the bottom of the ocean? BBC Future finds out

Programmes

  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.