great white shark
© Alnitak/EPA
The great white shark seen swimming off the Balearics.
A great white shark has been spotted near Spain's Balearic Islands for the first time in at least 30 years.

Conservation workers saw the five-metre predator as it swam across Cabrera archipelago national park on Thursday morning.

Bite marks on dead whales and unconfirmed sightings of have long fuelled rumours of great white sharks in Spanish waters since the last confirmed sighting in 1976. But this time scientists with Spanish conservation group Alnitak were able to record and track the shark for over an hour.

"We saw a black fin and straight away could see it was a very big shark," said documentary director Fernando López-Mirones, who was on the boat with researchers.

"The conditions in the sea were amazing and we had the specimen around three metres from the boat, and we could watch it up close for 70 minutes," he told El País.

The conservation group, which is recording data on turtles, sperm whales and other wildlife in the Mediterranean, announced the sighting on its social media page with a photograph of the great white, and said it would also release video recordings.

In 1976 fisherman Xisco Lopez caught a six-metre great white off the northern coast of Majorca.

According to a 2007 documentary on the history of great white sharks around the Balearics, around 27 were caught by local fishermen between 1920 and 1976.