Mallorca 'Great White Shark' Turns Out To Be A Far Humbler Fish

Tourists were panicking recently on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca after a Great White Shark was allegedly sighted off the coastline.

According to the Inquisitr, seen swimming in the shallow waters just off the popular Magaluf resort in Mallorca, tourists immediately photographed and identified the huge fish as being a Great White Shark. The Jaws theme was instantly playing loudly in their terrified heads as they ran willy-nilly away from the beach.

However, according to the Local, experts have now confirmed that the so-called "Great White Shark," spotted between Magaluf and Palmanova last week, has absolutely no relationship to the main character in Jaws.

They interviewed Claudio Barriá, a shark expert at Barcelona's Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM), who told the Local that he actually wished it was a shark, but said it was far more likely to be a humble, and rather large, tuna.

"I wish I could tell you that was a great white or even a shark of any species. It would be terribly exciting to have one swimming in Mallorcan waters."

"But unfortunately, no. I can say it is very unlikely to be a great white shark. In fact it is most likely to be a harmless tuna."

Barriá explained that in the past, Great White Sharks had been frequent visitors to the Balearic Islands and the western Mediterranean Sea, but apparently haven't been seen there for over 20 years.
"The species is very susceptible to changes in environmental changes such as water temperature and over-fishing and so isn't found there anymore."
Referring to initial photos of the "Great White Shark," Barriá explained that while it might at a glance resemble the shape of a shark, closer inspection showed that it was not.
"Thanks to the effects of refracted light, some shadows on the seabed, and the fact that the photo was taken looking down on the fish, I can see why you might think it is a shark."

"If a shark was photographed from that angle it simply wouldn't look like that."

The marine biologist did explain that tuna are normally spotted in shoals, so it was unusual for one to be swimming solo in the shallow waters. He also said the poor quality of the image made it difficult to initially identify the fish.

However Barriá did see a further photograph, taken from a different angle which showed that the fish did, indeed, look far more like a tuna than a Great White Shark.

With concerns over the local tourism for the summer season, local residents had already dismissed the sighting of a Great White Shark, with some saying the story was merely a hoax.

Chris Seheroenzeel manages Big Blue Diving in Palmanova, just meters from where the alleged Great White Shark was spotted and said it was definitely a hoax.

"I have done between 900 and 1000 dives in these waters and never seen a shark of any kind in these waters."

"Sharks are very shy animals and they are constantly hunting for food and there is nothing that would interest them in the shallow waters around Palmanova."

Great white shark
Large jellyfish - Photo courtesy Anne Sewell

Euro Weekly News also commented, saying that shark sightings were rare and that most likely the fish was a red tuna.

Vacationers swimming in the Spanish part of the Mediterranean Sea are far more likely to come across jellyfish, especially during the summer months.

Of course a sting from a jellyfish, while painful, is a whole lot better than a bite from a Great White Shark.

Tuna on the other hand is of course delicious, especially apparently in Mallorca.

So there we go, instead of panicking over what they thought was a Great White Shark, any savvy fisherman could have had a great catch, supplying tasty tuna casserole to residents on the surrounding island! Vacationers can, of course, now head happily back to the beach.

[Image: Tuna fishing CC BY 2.0 Bill Brine - Dog with jellyfish courtesy and copyright Anne Sewell]