Huge shark is spotted in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 July, 2012, 12:00am


Twelve beaches in Hong Kong were closed after a large shark was seen near Lamma Island last week.

Anne-Sophie Girard was one of the first people to see the giant fish. She was on a boat at Sham Wan, on Lamma, enjoying a party with her family and friends. But suddenly the boat's captain saw a fin in the water. He quickly told the swimmers to get back on the boat.

'At that moment, we were just really scared. It was quite a big shark,' she said.

It may have been a whale shark, the world's biggest kind of shark. They can grow to over 12 metres long and weigh over 20 tonnes.

But whale sharks only eat plankton, a kind of tiny sea animal. They are not dangerous to people. Anne-Sophie said the shark did not seem aggressive, even though it swam under their boat.

Government officials decided to close 12 beaches, including the busy one at Repulse Bay.

But Samantha Lee Mei-wah, a conservation officer with WWF Hong Kong, said closing the beaches wasn't necessary. 'They could have used this opportunity to educate the public about sharks,' she said.

In June, some sharks were also seen near Stanley.

Five things to know about: SHARKS

1. Sharks are very good hunters. They are at the top of their food chain.

2. Most sharks live for 20-30 years, but the whale shark can live to be 100.

3. Sharks must swim all the time to breathe. Some can keep swimming even while they are asleep.

4. Jaws was a famous film about a dangerous shark, but most sharks are harmless to people.

5. Many species of shark are now endangered because fishermen catch them for their fins.

Cheryl says

Sharks are scary! They should be kept away from beaches where people are swimming.

Ethan says

Sharks do an important job in nature, but some of them are now endangered. We should protect them.