GREAT white sharks could be in swimming in the sea off Brighton beach within 30 years, according to research by a leading expert.

Rising water temperatures caused by climate change will attract a number of species to the Sussex coast, including great whites, hammerheads, blacktips, sand tigers and oceanic whitetips.

Dr Ken Collins, senior research fellow from the University of Southampton, told The Argus: “I’ve been in marine science for 50 years and since then the channel’s waters have risen by one degree.

“By 2050 the Channel will be as warm as the Mediterranean, bringing a variety of new sharks to Brighton’s shores.”

Great white sharks grow to 20ft long and adults can weigh more than a tonne.

The Hollywood blockbuster Jaws gave the predators a fearsome reputation.

But experts say attacks on humans are rare and more effort should be put into conserving the species which is currently listed as ‘vulnerable’.

Dr Collins is hoping his research can be used to educate people.

He said: “Don’t worry, nobody is going to be eaten alive.

“The bottom line is that the chances of encountering sharks in general is decreasing as we’re killing them at an alarming rate.”

Research show that humans are responsible for killing 100 million sharks every year through overfishing, hunting them for their fins, and pollution.

The team at Sea Life Brighton are educating the public on the conservation challenges.

Joe Williams from the aquarium said: “The most important thing to consider when talking about sharks is that humans pose a much bigger risk to them than they do to us.

“While it is true great white sharks are strong hunters, humans are not their natural prey and attacks are incredibly rare.”

The Argus:

How likely are you to be killed by a shark?

  • Only five people die from shark attacks yearly.
  • There is a one in 63 chance of dying from flu but a one in 11 million chance of being killed by a shark
  • Surfers account for half of all attacks. 98 per cent of shark attacks worldwide were on males. 
  • For every human killed by a shark, humans kill approximately two million sharks. Florida Museum of Natural History estimates that great whites have killed just 80 humans since 1580.
  • No human has been killed in the UK in a shark attack in the last 100 years.
  • One fatal incident in 1956 occurred when two men attempted to blow up a shark with explosives but blew themselves up instead.