Marine Conservation Society reassures bathers that porbeagle shark is most commonly found out ‘well out at sea’.

THIS week a porbeagle shark was hooked off the coast of North Devon – but just how common are these toothy creatures?

Richard Harrington, of the Marine Conservation Society, said the porbeagle was not likely to be a danger to people bathing on the beaches.

“It has a diet mainly of fish such as mackerel and cod, and tends to be found well out to sea.

“We are pleased to see the fish returned alive, as sharks and rays of many species are classed as threatened or endangered.

“The porbeagle is considered critically endangered in the North East Atlantic.”

The porbeagle is part of a group of sharks known collectively as mackerel sharks, belonging to the Lamnidae family.

Porbeagles are often found in the surface layers of the open ocean, and can also be found in coastal waters, like the one hooked off the coast of North Devon.

They live for around 30-40 years and can grown to a length of three-and-a-half metres.

Porbeagles are a highly migratory species – they can be found from Iceland and the Barents Sea all the way to North West Africa.

Up until 1970s when they became unprofitable, the North Atlantic population of porbeagle stocks were over-exploited by directed long-line fisheries.