A GIANT shark three metres long has been washed up on a Brittany beach. The fish, a rare smalltooth sand tiger, is named requin féroce in French for its fierce array of sharp teeth but is not known to attack humans.
The shark, which measured 3.24m and 220kg, was found at the weekend on the beach at Pénestin (Morbihan).
Specialists from the shark conservation group Apecs said that it was a generally only found in tropical waters at depths of up to 800m and was very rare on the Atlantic coast. It was usually found round the Canaries and Azores and also in the Mediterranean.
However, last year one was found stranded but alive on a beach at Agon-Coutainville, in Manche. It was successfully returned to the sea.
Before that the only previous sighting had been in 1930 when a trawler netted one at 250m deep in the Bay of Biscay.
Now the Apecs scientists have launched an appeal to fishermen to find out why the shark washed up at Pénestin as an autopsy revealed no obvious signs. It has asked if any fishermen caught the shark in their nets and then returned it to the sea.