The sighting of a sea creature in the Firth of Forth, said to be at least 15ft in length, could be a shark.
Glenrothes man Alex Lawson wrote a letter to The Courier last week after sighting a “large” fish “skimming and darting” near the Forth Road Bridge on the afternoon of Sunday, July 1.
In his letter entitled “Mystery from the Deep” he estimated the animal was “15 to 20ft long” and more akin to a “big shark” than a whale.
Mr Lawson wrote: “From my high view point, it reminded me of looking down into a basin full of water, with a large stickleback in it, as we often did when we were children.
“But this was no stickleback, and with its side fins, and swallow tail, it looked more like a big shark, than a fat whale shape.
“I am no expert but going by a comparison with the many small boats and sailing yachts that pass under the bridge, this must have been around 15 to 20 feet long.
“It was just a short encounter, and it wasn’t long before it headed off towards the shore.
“As there were only a few people on the bridge, and none near my vantage point, no one I spoke to afterwards had seen anything.”
He had no photos or videos of the sighting.
And on Tuesday another Courier reader responded to the letter, claiming the sighting matches the description of a blue shark. The species is said to be able to grow to 15ft in length.
Monifieth man Kenneth Miln said, though the creatures are not often found in the Forth Estuary, they would be able to cope with the current water temperature in the area.
He added that Mr Lawson’s stickleback comparison is also accurate, as blue sharks when seen from above “would appear very like a giant stickleback”.
Mr Miln wrote: “Mr Lawson noticed a shadowy black shape skimming and “darting” through the water below the Forth Road Bridge, and estimated it at 15 to 20ft long.
“The most likely candidate is a blue shark (prionace glauca). Blues are swift swimmers, have large pectoral fins and can attain 15ft in length.
“Although they are not commonly found in the Forth estuary, they can tolerate a water temperature range of 5 to 25 deg C – which, at this time of year and with the present weather conditions, falls into this range.”
Blue sharks are found in oceans across the world, and have been spotted from the Gulf of Alaska to South Africa, New Zealand and Norway.
Their diets consist chiefly of bony fishes, squid, cuttlefish and octopus.
Though not an overly aggressive species, they have been known to attack humans and boats in the past.
The species gets its name from its blueish skin.
The blue shark is also heavily fished.