A dog investigates the body of the rare shark which washed up on a Scottish beach
© Cascade News
A dog investigates the body of the rare shark which washed up on a Scottish beach
The body of a rare blue shark has been found washed up on a Scottish beach.

Scientists were shocked after the 5ft carcass was discovered by a dogwalker on Tentsmuir Beach, Fife.
Scottish Blue sharks normally inhabit very deep waters in seas across the world from South America to Norway but are very rarely found near shorelines.

Dr Andrew Brownlow, from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, said scientists would be trying to recover the shark's body which was found on Monday to find out more.

"It it is a deep water species which only occasionally comes close to shore," he explained.

"We are going to see if we can get this recovered to see if we can learn a little more about what happened.

"It is possible the animal swam onto the beach alive and died, or it could be ill."

He said the sea creature may have died after being caught up in commercial fishing nets.

But he said the public did not need to worry about going near the water. He added: "Sharks have much more to fear from humans than the other way around, and you certainly don't have Jaws in the Tay!"

The blue shark is non-aggressive to humans, although it has been known to attack as a result of feeling threatened. It can grow to 9ft long and feeds on fish and squid found at the bottom of the ocean.

The blue shark's numbers have declined drastically in the last few years - by a much as 60 per cent. Their conservation status is now "near threatened".

Between 10 and 20 million blue sharks are thought to be killed due to human capture worldwide each year, with its skin used for leather, fins used for shark fin soup and the liver for oil mainly in Asia.

The latest spot in Fife comes just two months after a nine-foot blue shark, the second largest ever caught off the coast of Britain, was captured 20 miles off the Welsh coast by an amateur fisherman.

Shark sightings in the Tay and Firth of Forth are few and far between, but they do happen.

Last summer, a fisherman near St Monans spotted a large basking shark, which normally visit the west coast of Scotland and are rarely seen on the east coast.

And a tope shark was spotted in near Methil Pier back in 2012 by a man out fishing for mackerel.

The latest sighting comes just days after fishermen in South Africa wrestled a Bronze Whaler shark back into the sea after they landed it by mistake.