Diverse Finned Residents: Exploring the Various Shark Species in UK Waters

The coastal waters surrounding the United Kingdom harbor a diverse and captivating assortment of marine life, including various species of sharks that gracefully navigate the seas. Contrary to popular belief, the UK’s aquatic landscapes are home to a variety of sharks, each contributing to the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem. In this article, we embark on an exploration of the different shark species inhabiting UK waters, with a special focus on the mysterious catshark and the powerful huss.

  1. Porbeagle Shark (Lamna nasus): A formidable predator, the porbeagle shark is a frequent visitor to UK waters. Known for its streamlined body and pointed snout, the porbeagle is a symbol of strength and agility. Anglers often seek the challenge of capturing this powerful species, which is present in both coastal and offshore regions during the colder months.
  2. Blue Shark (Prionace glauca): Sporting a sleek and slender physique with a striking indigo-blue hue, the blue shark is a migratory pelagic species found in offshore UK waters. During the summer, these enigmatic creatures venture closer to the coast. Despite their imposing appearance, blue sharks are generally harmless and add a touch of grace to the oceanic panorama.
  3. Spurdog (Squalus acanthias): Commonly referred to as the spiny dogfish, spurdogs are small sharks characterized by spiky dorsal fins. Found in various UK waters, these sharks form large schools and are occasionally encountered by anglers as bycatch in fishing gear.
  4. Smoothhound Shark (Mustelus spp.): The smoothhound shark family, including the common smoothhound and the starry smoothhound, graces the shallower coastal areas of the UK. Recognized by their smooth skin and absence of a pronounced dorsal ridge, these smaller sharks are favored by recreational anglers for their spirited fights.
  5. Tope Shark (Galeorhinus galeus): Sleek and powerful, the tope shark is a migratory species that frequents UK waters during the warmer months. Often found in inshore regions, the tope shark offers sport anglers a thrilling challenge, showcasing its impressive size and strength.
  6. Catshark (Scyliorhinidae family): Among the most intriguing inhabitants of UK waters, the catshark, also known as the small-spotted catshark or lesser spotted dogfish, boasts a slender body, distinctive patterns, and cat-like eyes. Common in shallow coastal areas, these smaller sharks are accessible to both divers and anglers.
  7. Huss (Scyliorhinus stellaris): Also known as the greater spotted dogfish, the huss is a close relative of the catshark. Recognized by its larger size and distinctive markings, the huss is a common species in UK waters. These sharks are often found in sandy or rocky areas and are a popular catch for both commercial and recreational anglers.


The diverse cast of shark species in UK waters, featuring the mesmerizing catshark and the powerful huss, contributes to the richness and complexity of the marine environment. From the sleek porbeagle to the resilient spurdog, each species plays a unique role in the intricate web of life beneath the waves. Understanding and appreciating these sharks are essential for fostering conservation efforts and preserving the delicate balance of the UK’s marine ecosystems. As these magnificent creatures continue to glide through the seas, they remind us of the importance of safeguarding their habitats for generations to come.

Angelshark (Critically endangered)

Angular roughshark (Vulnerable)

Birdbeak dogfish (Endangered in Europe)

Black dogfish

Blackmouth catshark

Blue shark (Near threatened)

Sixgill shark

Bramble shark (Endangered)

Common smoothhound (Vulnerable)

Frilled shark

Ghost catshark

Great lanternshark

Greenland shark (Near threatened)

Iceland catshark

Kitefin shark (Vulnerable)

Knifetooth dogfish

Leafscale gulper shark (Endangered in Europe)

Longnose velvet dogfish

Mouse catshark

Portuguese dogfish (Endangered in Europe)

Sailfin roughshark

Sharpnose sevengill shark (Near threatened)

Shortfin mako (Endangered)

Smooth hammerhead shark (Vulnerable)

Spurdog (Endangered in Europe)

Thresher shark (Endangered in Europe)

Velvetbelly lanternshark (Near threatened in Europe)

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