The dead shark, which washed up on the River Erne last Friday.

Shark’s tale on the River Erne

Small spurdog shark washed up near Foalies Bridge

A group of English fishermen were stunned to discover what they initially thought was a large pike was, in fact, a shark floating on the River Erne.

Not an oft dismissed fisherman’s tale, one that gets bigger in the retelling, the shocking discovery was actually made near Belturbet last week, and the incident is now under investigation by the authorities, who are appealing for information.

The decaying remains of a small spurdog shark, measuring approximately one metre in length, washed up near Foalies Bridge on Friday, September 17.

Richard Webber, was one of six friends coarse fishing for bream and roach when the shark was found. It was two others from the group who first happened upon the unusual find, cuing confusion, panic and enough excitement to draw the attention of the others.

“Every year we come over there is always an incident, little mishaps or what have you. This is just another to add to the list, but I think is now the incident of all incidents that could have happened.”

The incident though is “a cause for concern” for Inland Fisheries Ireland as the State agency advocates a ‘catch and release’ approach to shark species.

It is currently illegal to land spurdogs, and a Zero Total Allowable Catch has been set in European Waters since 2010.

The most likely outcome believed is that the shark found on the River Erne was dumped, possibly further up stream nearer Belturbet or from a passing boat, with Inland Fisheries Ireland saying “early indications” are it was “caught at sea, with a rod and line”.

See this week's Anglo-Celt newspaper for full report.