Man bitten by shark while fishing off Cork coast

Belfast man sustained a serious lower arm injury while deep-sea angling

A Belfast man was bitten by a shark while fishing off the coast of Cork on Saturday evening.

The man, who is in his 40s, was fishing aboard the deep sea angling boat Deora De when he and his group landed two Blue Sharks, some 13 kilometres off Roches Point.

It is understood the man was trying to remove a hook from one of the Blue Sharks before throwing the fish back, when the other shark, weighing 47 kg (103 pounds), began thrashing about on the deck of the boat.

The second shark bit the man on the forearm and punctured his skin, resulting in a bleeding wound, before his friends were able to remove the shark and throw him back overboard.


The man was given immediate first aid by the crew of the Deora De who stopped the bleeding and bandaged him up before he was transferred to a Crosshaven RNLI lifeboat where further casualty care was given on board. The lifeboat was met at Crosshaven by an ambulance and the man was transported to Cork University Hospital.

Crosshaven RNLI volunteers were called to the scene at 6pm.

A RNLI spokesman said: “This was more of an angling accident than a shark attack, there was a bit of a struggle when pulling the shark on board.

“We’re not trying to panic anyone.”

Skipper of the Crosshaven RNLI Atlantic 85 RIB James Fegan said that such incidents were unusual but he stressed that Blue Sharks are generally found well offshore and in Co Cork are usually found several kilometres out to sea in deeper water.

“You have to draw a line from Power Head near Ballycotton to the Old Head of Kinsale and it is outside that line you will find them.

“This boat was that far out when they caught this fellow but they did everything right in terms of heading for home as fast as possible and we were able to rendezvous and get him ashore quickly,” Mr Fegan said.

“The fact that the casualty was conscious was hugely important as it made the transfer to our boat a lot easier.”

Blue Sharks are the most common species of shark in Irish waters and grow to a maximum length of just under 4m (13 feet), and typically weigh between 136 - 182 kg (300 to 400 lb).

The Blue Shark is a long distance migrant to Irish waters where they are usually found between June and October when it is taken by recreational anglers on rod and line on a catch and release basis.

Although blue sharks are the most common species of shark in Irish waters, they rarely bite humans.

They usually feed on small fish and squid, and can live for around 20 years.

Until 2013, the blue shark was implicated in only 13 biting incidents with humans, four of which ended fatally.–Additional reporting PA

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times