Shark sighting near Incheon keeps officials on their toes


SEOUL — South Korea’s coast guard is strengthening its patrols around beaches, helping establish a reporting system and setting up a plan to evacuate people immediately at the sight of a shark after two were found near Incheon, according to a coast guard spokeswoman.

A dead 15-foot shark was caught in a net Saturday by a trawler, and a vacationer found a 1-ton, 18-foot white shark on the beach near Yongyu Island on Sunday. The coast guard said the second shark was alive when it washed ashore but died after struggling for an hour.

The Korea Herald reported it was the first time a great white has been found ashore in South Korea.

“Shark is not a fish group the international community tends to protect,” said Park Jae-young, South Korea coast guard spokeswoman. “If a shark poses a threat to a human, it would be killed instantly. We are ready to kill them when necessary.”

The warm ocean temperatures have attracted mackerel and squid, main food sources for sharks, to the coast and the predators might have followed, experts told the Korea Times.

“Sharks are very sensitive and will aggressively react to noise and any movement taken by nearby creatures,” Park said.

“If you spot a shark, don’t shout or wildly dash out of the water as seen in the ‘Jaws’ movie.  … Just try to get out of the water calmly but very quickly and immediately report it to the beach patrol guard.”

An 18-foot great white shark washed ashore Sunday near the Port of Incheon in South Korea. The one-ton shark died about an hour after beaching itself.
Courtesy of the South Korea Coast Guard

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