KILLER sharks could be headed for UK waters as sea temperatures soar in the wake of climate change.
According to new research, the migration patterns of tiger sharks could move further north, with scientists predicting that British beaches could be a prime target.
The study by the University of Miami showed that the tiger shark’s movement in the western North Atlantic Ocean has already changed because of the rising ocean temperatures.
Experts have said the new predator’s movements outside of their usual protected areas make them more exposed to the dangers of commercial fishing.
The waters off the Atlantic coastline’s were historically too cold for tiger sharks, but temperatures have warmed in recent years making them more suitable for the deadly species.
The highly endangered species have the second most fatal attacks on humans, after great white sharks and can measure up to an astonishing 4 metres long.
Study lead author Professor Neil Hammerschlag, director of the UM Shark Research and Conservation Programme, said: Tiger shark annual migrations have expanded poleward, paralleling rising water temperatures.
These results have consequences for tiger shark conservation, since shifts in their movements outside of marine protected areas may leave them more vulnerable to commercial fishing.
The study found that when ocean temperatures were the warmest on record tiger shark’s migrated 250 miles farther north and about 14 days earlier.
Prof Hammerschlag’s research team discovered the impact of climate change through analysing nine years of tracking data from satellite-tagged tiger sharks.
This research was combined with 40 years of tag and recapture schemes by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and satellite data of changes in sea-surface temperature.
Prof Hammerschlag added: “Given their role as apex predators, these changes to tiger shark movements may alter predator-prey interactions, leading to ecological imbalances, and more frequent encounters with humans.”
Research by the University of Southampton said that the UK could see an influx of sharks inhabiting British seas in the coming years if oceans continue to get warmer.
Dr Ken Collins, from the university’s National Oceanography Centre, says 10 species of shark currently found in warmer parts of the world could inhabit our seas by 2050 because of climate change.
Dr Ken Collins, a senior research fellow from the University of Southampton said: Ive been in marine science for 50 years and since then the channels waters have risen by one degree.
By 2050 the Channel will be as warm as the Mediterranean, bringing a variety of new sharks to Brightons shores.