Around midday on Thursday a shark was discovered between the beach of La Ribera and La Bassa Rodona in Sitges (Catalonia).
Lifeguards immediately evacuated the bathers from the sea at four local beaches: La Fragata, La Ribera, La Bassa Rodona and L’Estanyol, and then hoisted the red flag.
Coastguard authorities were then monitoring the shark from the Club Nàutic, in case it went too close to other beach areas. It was later identified as a mako shark, one of the fastest on the planet.
Mako sharks have only been linked to nine unprovoked attacks on people since 1580, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Following the established protocol and knowing the characteristics of the species, bathing was again allowed on all the beaches of Sitges from around 2.30pm, with the yellow flag flying.
Also on Thursday morning, bathing on the beaches of nearby Vilanova in Catalonia was also banned due to the presence of blue sharks.
Blue sharks are common in the coastal waters off Catalonia but when they appear too close to the beach then it can become potentially dangerous, although the blue shark is not considered to be aggressive.
Blue shark attacks on humans are extremely rare but have been recorded. In total, on a world-wide basis since the year 1580, there are four confirmed cases of fatal blue shark attacks on humans with 13 confirmed non-fatal attacks. According to the University of Florida, there are only 12 unprovoked attacks on record.
Most adult blue sharks measure 1.7 to 2.2 metres long; however, some may grow up to 4 metres in length and weigh nearly 206 kg. Blue Sharks are pelagic, meaning that they normally prefer the open ocean to the coastlines.
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