A FAMILY has spoken of their shock to find a shark washed up on Charmouth Beach.

Ten-year-old Nate Gillan was out fossil hunting when he stumbled across what experts claim is either an endangered blue shark or a tope.

The excited youngster ran to tell his dad Steve, mum Beth and seven-year-old sister Immy about his discovery.

Mr Gillan said: “It was an amazing find and the last thing you expect to find washed up on Charmouth Beach.

“The poor thing looked like he’s suffered a blow to the head. He must have been washed up after the storms last week.

“It was fantastic for Nate, he was so excited and other families were crowding round to take a look.

“The strange thing is that when we went back to the shark 20 minutes later, it had gone and we think someone must have taken it.”

When the Gillan family got home they immediately began to search online to try and find out what kind of shark they had found. Fiona Smith, of Weymouth SeaLife Park, said: “We think it is a blue shark or a tope. Both species are often caught as bycatch and are often targeted for fishing. The tope is vulnerable and the blue shark is near threatened so it is sad to see any of the species being stranded on the beaches.”

It comes after tonnes of rubbish and animal carcasses were washed up along Chesil Beach following recent storms.


THE Gillan family also found what they first thought was a rare fossil.

Mr Gillan said: “We don’t really know if it is a fossil but you never know what’s going to get washed ashore and we’d like to know more about it.”

Richard Edmonds, Dorset County Council’s earth science manager, said: “It is in fact the face of a calcite vein inside a limestone nodule. From the top or bottom it would appear as a white line; a crack filled with calcite crystal but the rock has broken along that face to expose one wall with the calcite on it.”