It has been at least three decades since an endangered great white shark has been seen in the turquoise waters off the coast of Mallorca or, in fact, anywhere on Spain’s island and mainland [VIDEO] coastlines. In fact, scientists say it is a “historic sighting.” Researchers spotted the five-metre shark swimming close to the Balearic Islands on Friday and claim it is of a critically endangered species. The research crew enjoyed watching and photographing the shark over a period of about one hour and 10 minutes.

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Great white shark spotted off the Spanish coast

There’s a lot more than “Love Island [VIDEO]” happening on the island of Mallorca in Spain’s Balearic Islands right now.

Apologies for the rather tongue-in-cheek quip, but maybe it could be related?

Great white sharks are widely feared, as they are well known to have attacked surfers and swimmers in various parts of the world. However, this phenomenon has tended to drop off, regrettably due to overfishing in the oceans in recent years and accidental catches of the large fish. They also tend to be captured in China and Hong Kong for their famed, and apparently delicious, shark fin soup.

As reported by The Week, the Spanish Alnitak marine research centre made a post on Facebook to say their expedition team had spotted the great white shark about eight miles off the coast of the small island of Cabrera, just off Mallorca. Researchers said they watched the shark swimming around for over an hour.

Research centre confirms possible sighting of great white shark

In their Facebook post, the research centre said there had been possibly unconfirmed sightings off the coastline which were mainly rumours.

However, they added that this event was the first scientific observation of a Carcharodon (great white shark) in around three decades. They continued by saying the historic sighting had been captured in both photographs and video and watched by a research crew consisting of 10 people from five different countries.

The Independent quotes the Shark Trust as saying great white sharks are commonly associated with Australia and South Africa, where cage diving and shark attacks have been common in recent years. However, they added that the species is native to the Mediterranean and that the creatures can live up to around the age of 70 without human intervention. The Shark Trust also said that while their reputation is for attacking humans, this is relatively rare and few attacks prove fatal. According to marine biologists, attacks are merely the shark taking a “test bite” to establish what kind of creature has entered their territory.

Great white sharks are on the critically endangered species list and should not be attacked or hunted, despite their “tasty” fins.

There was a controversy in 2016 when a photo of divers posing with a dead shark in the Mediterranean appeared on social media. However, Alnitak’s report stressed there was no evidence that a shark has been seen from their ship in the last 30 years.

Official identification of shark still ongoing

Researchers had been investigating plastic pollution off the Spanish coast when it happened. Now experts globally are examining the photos and footage to confirm the identity of the species of the shark. John Richardson is a conservation officer at the Shark Trust and said what he saw was a “spectacular photo” of what was obviously a very impressive shark.

From the one image he saw, he believes the shark is either a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias to give the big fish its official title) or possibly a shortfin mako (officially named Isurus oxyrinchus). Richardson said given the rarity of either species swimming in the Mediterranean waters, they would be excited to confirm either official species.