Are there sharks in Croatia's water

Big shark sighted off Croatia!

Searching for great white sharks in the Mediterranean is like a needle in a haystack. And yet there are always sightings that give hope. According to media reports, a large shark was sighted off the coast of Makarska on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia on Saturday, June 8, 2019.

Unfortunately, the knowledge about the occurrence of large sharks such as the great white sharks in the Mediterranean is only based on isolated reports of sightings. A large shark was sighted off the coast of Makarska on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia on June 8, 2019. Experts do not agree on whether it is a blue, maco or great white shark. The fact is: Fortunately, there are still large sharks in the Mediterranean, because many species that used to be regularly found in these waters, such as mako, fox and smooth hammerhead sharks, are endangered or threatened with extinction.

DIVING-Author Daniel Brinckmann has researched everything about the sightings of large sharks in the Mediterranean for many years: Halil Ataç probably got quite big eyes when a fisherman told him on July 6th 2011 that a newborn great white shark had just gone into the gillnet. In addition, in the middle of the Bay of Edremit in the North Aegean. The 85 centimeter young predator, which was barely older than four days, was lucky: As president of the Altinoluk fishing cooperative and long-time shark friend, Ataç asked the fisherman to bring him the small one in a basin filled with lake water. After the animal developed symptoms of stress a little later, Ataç gave it freedom. The video shot went viral, and because such a catch was not the first but the sixth of its kind within three years, the topic of a possible great white shark nursery in the Mediterranean spread like wildfire.

Impressive sight: a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias).



Hardly any statistics

Unfortunately, when it comes to large sharks in the Mediterranean, there is always a lack of means to produce basic statistics. In the case of the great white shark, the facts are based on collections of anecdotal sightings. And in the case of almost all other great shark species, on point surveys in two or three nurseries and on catches registered by fishery inspectors. Why it is like that? Because there are simply not enough animals left. The Mare Nostrum is the most dangerous inland sea for sharks.

Sad fate of many great sharks!

With the exception of the highly reproductive blue sharks and the six-gill sharks, which are still relatively common below 300 meters depth, the number of large sharks sighted and captured is nowadays too low to be able to make any statement about their degree of danger. Above all, this applies to the two species of sand tigers, which are on the verge of biological extinction in the European domestic sea, and the gray sharks, which are represented by more species in the Mediterranean than most divers suspect. Formerly common species such as mako, thresher and smooth hammerhead sharks are either critically endangered or threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean. Studies have shown that populations have dropped to one to two percent of the population a hundred years ago.


There is no reliable information on the number of living great white sharks - but their number is certainly in the hundreds, not the thousands. They were probably once as common in the northern Adriatic as they were off California, South Africa or South Australia.

The era of the bounty hunters

At the time of the Danube monarchy, the catch of each great white shark was rewarded with a head premium - the amount of the payment being based on the size of the animals. Between 1872 and 1882 alone, no fewer than 53 great white sharks were sent to the Natural History Museum in Trier to secure premiums. Probably the first shark catching campaign of modern times was extended into the 20th century. As contemporary postcards and articles from important gazettes like “Le Petit Parisien” show, the fear of great white sharks was not a product of the Hollywood blockbuster “The Great White Shark”.

Attack, driven hunt and section: contemporary postcards portrayed sharks in a bad light.

The American harpunetti Guy Gilpatrick gave the freshly graduated high school graduate and later diving pioneer Hans Hass a tip that seems rather archaic nowadays in 1939 before he targeted his first bluefin tuna on the Côte d'Azur: "You need a knife, There are also sharks here. ”At the latest with the end of the Second World War, probably earlier, the era of a biologically healthy Mediterranean Sea passed, in which encounters with dog and sandbar sharks on remote stretches of the coast were hardly less exotic than those with groupers. With industrial fishing, self-proclaimed shark hunters and targeted fishing activities in the storm and urge phase of tourism, the coastal sharks in the western basin of the European Mediterranean disappeared at a record-breaking speed. And yet shark nets were not unusual in Istria, Opatija or Rijeka until the 1960s. Older semesters may still remember that back then hardly anyone swam after a ball that floated over the buoy boundary. Until the collapse of the tuna stocks, great white sharks usually attached themselves to the spawning courses of the schools that led from the western Mediterranean to the shallow, fjord-like bays of Croatia, where the predators were permanent seasonal guests. As the stomach contents of Mediterranean white sharks reveals, in the absence of high-fat seals they are greater food opportunists there than elsewhere and meet their energy needs with tuna and swordfish, dolphins, mackerel, other sharks and sea turtles. Or from ship waste. Exactly that, and not the chance encounter with swimmers, snorkelers or divers, are the typical situations for encounters with great white sharks in the Mediterranean in modern times.

Video evidence

DIVINGAuthor Daniel Brinckmann has eleven videos With seven types of large sharks that are guaranteed not to be fakes. Warning: the last video shows how an animal is killed and is not for the faint of heart. But there are also nice videos. The ones in which humans rescue sharks from emergency situations. Here, for example, bathers saved a stranded blue shark that fell victim to a fishing line off Porto Pollo (Sardinia) in 2015. The story from the article: A baby white shark that was caught alive as bycatch in Edremit (Turkey) in July 2011 is identified and put back into the sea. A basking shark was sighted from a boat off Cervia (Italy) in April 2015. Fortunately, the camera is waterproof! There are also exciting underwater shots in this video: the six-gill shark is only illuminated by a few lamps and otherwise swims in complete darkness through the Strait of Messina (Italy).

In April 2016, a spearfisher films his brief encounter with a smooth shark in the Channel of Sicily (Italy) and then appears.

Here is a short documentary about a sandbar shark sanctuary off Gökova (Turkey) that was filmed in 2005.
A video about the search for a great white shark in the Adriatic Sea. (Croatia, summer 2009) Dozens of dark sharks cavort off Israel's coast near Hardera in January 2017. Sandbar sharks can also be seen!
A blue shark swims through extremely shallow water in a bay of Porto Germeno in the Gulf of Corinth (Greece).

In August 2012, anglers spot a great white shark right off Saint Tropez (France).

Caution: brutal recording!

A great white shark follows its natural instinct and ends up in a tuna farm. What follows afterwards is frightening: for a never-ending period of time, the shark is shot at by bystanders who finally pull the dead animal out of the water and cheer each other for what they did.