South West Wales

Mako shark caught off Pembrokeshire by Julian Lewis Jones and crew

Mako shark caught off Pembrokeshire coast
Image caption The shark was caught 30 miles off the coast of Milford Haven

The fastest shark in the ocean - and a cousin of the Great White - has been caught by a crew fishing off the Pembrokeshire coast.

Actor Julian Lewis Jones, Bangor-born star of TV sitcom Stella, was among the team which pulled the 6ft (2m) mako out of the water near Milford Haven.

It is thought to be the first ever mako shark caught in Wales.

An average mako will grow up to 10ft (3m) in length.

Makos swim in excess of 30mph and can weigh up to 300lbs (135kg).

Jones - along with Andy Griffith, David Morris and Andrew Alsop - set off at 05:30 BST on Thursday for a day's fishing.

They were around 30 miles (50km) off the Milford Haven coast, and had already caught and released two blue sharks weighing 120lbs (55kg) each, when something in the blue water caught their eye.

"We saw this flash that whizzed passed the boat - it was a big white belly and it went so, so fast," said the actor.

"Next thing this shark leapt 15ft in the air about 20ft off the back of the stern of the boat.

"We all looked at each other and said 'that's a mako' and we knew the importance of it.

"This is something that you dream of."

Jones, who has appeared on angling programmes on Sky TV and Welsh-language channel S4C, said the team all worked together to bring in the shark which had been caught by Griffith.

"Mako sharks are aggressive and fast animals and they have been known to actually jump inside boats," said Jones.

"It was around 40 minutes before we had him on the side of the boat and he went a bit ballistic and you can't control it - it's a wild animal, it's like trying to control a rhino."

Head kissed

The four men managed to slip a circle hook into the corner of the shark's mouth and get him to the deck of the boat.

The shark weighed in at around 200lbs (90kg) and measured around 6ft (2m).

Once the photographs and measurements had been taken, Alsop gave the shark a kiss on the top of his head and the team released him.

Jones said: "We were so privileged, absolutely stoked to have done it and it was the first off the coast of Wales."

The International Shark Attack File (ISAF) has recorded 42 mako attacks on humans between 1980 and 2010, three of which were fatal, along with twenty boat attacks.

The organisation says divers who have encountered makos say that, prior to an attack, they will swim in a figure-of-eight pattern and approach with mouths open.

It is not the first time Jones has had a surprising catch.

In May, he saved a young wallaby while fishing off Australia's Northern Territory in the mouth of Darwin Harbour.

The waters there are infested with crocodiles and sharks.

Jones said at the time: "It looked like it was on its last legs. It was so scared and in the middle of the ocean. It came to our boat perhaps sensing that we would be able to help it."

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