WHEN we think of sharks we often conjure up images in our minds of great whites darting about to the tune from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws movie. And although we wouldn't usually get great whites in these waters, we get a few more species of shark than some people often care to realise.

As we approach the end of Shark Week, the Echo looks back at local shark encounters from the past.

Basking shark near Cobden Bridge

Large crowds gathered on Cobden Bridge in 1956 to marvel at the size of a dead shark thought to have weighed many hundreds of pounds.

It was originally reported to have been a porbeagle, although now seems more likely to have been a basking shark.

Daily Echo:

The creature’s body was hoisted into the air at Dyer’s Boatyard but when it began to decompose and smell, it was quickly towed back out to sea.

But the most common sharks sighted off Hampshire are threshers, porbeagles and even the deadly blue shark.

Shark found in Rose Garden fountain

On a fairly quiet Saturday afternoon in June 1978, the editorial staff at the Echo were enjoying their lunch when three young men suddenly burst in through the door.

“There’s a shark in the fountain at the Rose Gardens!”

Daily Echo:

And, as unbelievable as it sounded, they were right!

The toothy terroriser wasn’t alive and tormenting passing shoppers, but was dead and lying on its side at the bottom of the fountain.  One of the lads — who swore they had nothing to do with the shark-lark — waded into the fountain in his motorcycle boots, and after gingerly nudging the creature with his foot, hauled it out by the tail.

Daily Echo:

It turned out to be about four and a half foot long and somewhat smelly, and immediately generated much discussion as passers-by pondered as to what kind of shark it was – perhaps a tope.

But the biggest mystery that nobody at the time could fathom was how the fishy fiend managed to get into the fountain at all.

Danny Vokins had a 400lb thresher jump in his boat

In 1981 Danny Vokins was fishing with a friend in a competition off the Isle of Wight when a 400lb thresher stalked their boat before leaping clean through the air and onto the deck.

Daily Echo:

The thresher, which stuns prey with its large tail, is one of 31 species of shark circling Britain -  including the short-fin mako and even one type of hammerhead.

He made the headlines again with a catch of a lifetime

Danny made the headlines again in 2007 when he made a record-breaking shark catch.

Daily Echo:

He became an unlikely celebrity thanks to his “catch of a lifetime” - a 500lb (226kg) thresher, caught just five miles off St Catherine’s Point.  It is one of the biggest sharks ever hooked in British waters.

Although the shark was the biggest thresher ever caught on by line and rod, it was never officially confirmed because it was tagged and put back into the sea.

Daily Echo:

Only sharks that are killed and then weighed on the shore go into the record books.  This was never an option for Danny though, he was more concerned for the creature’s welfare than breaking records.

Shark Meat was once offered to customers at Carrefour

But, back in 1978, we weren’t so aware of the decline in shark numbers and the effect it has on the food chain in general.

Daily Echo:

Carrefour hypermarket, which was once in Chandlers Ford, invited shoppers to stop in and sample ‘shark and chips’ - essentially a hunk of shark meat!

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