Pictured: The shark that attacked fisherman off Devon coast

A fisherman has undergone reconstructive surgery after becoming the first person to be bitten by a Blue shark off the British coast.

Daring Stephen Perkins, 52, had just hauled the fish into his boat for a commemorative photograph when it sunk its teeth into his forearm.

It caused deep puncture wounds and Stephen was losing so much blood that an RAF Sea King helicopter was scrambled to collect him off the Devon coastline.

Stephen Perkins holds the head of the Blue Shark moments before it nearly bit his hand off

Risky business: Stephen Perkins holds the head of the Blue Shark moments before it nearly bit his hand off

Mr Perkins recovers from the shark bite at home

Mr Perkins recovers from the bite at home

He was flown to hospital and underwent extensive surgery on his arm before being released yesterday

Stephen said: 'We don't harm the sharks when we hook them. We just take a picture and put them back in the water but the one I got was pretty lively and having put his jaw around my wrist then let go.

'The scariest bit, to be honest, was going up in a helicopter.

'It won't put me off fishing again but I will remember to pick the shark up by the blunt end in future.'

The drama began on Saturday morning as Stephen and a pal fished two miles off the west coast of Lundy Island in his boat 'Serenity'.  

After hooking the shark he dragged it aboard, where fishermen pose for a picture before unhooking the creatures and throwing them back in the sea.

But the shark bit Stephen's wrist before the pair managed to bundle it back overboard.

Blue shark

Guess who's coming to dinner: The shark just before it was caught

He was taken to North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple by a rescue helicopter from nearby RAF Chivenor, which was diverted from a training exercise.

On Sunday he was transferred to Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where he received re-constructive surgery for his injuries.

Stephen, of Glamorgan, south Wales, was due to be released yesterday lunchtime.

A spokeswoman for Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital said: 'A 52-year-old man was treated for crush and ripping injuries caused by a shark on Saturday.

'There was no muscle or bone damage. He has been told by doctors he will need future treatment in the form of physiotherapy.' 

Over the past few years Blue sharks, known as 'wolves of the sea' due to hunting in schools, have been reported swimming off the Devon and Cornwall coast.

In 1998, global warming experts claimed that there would be a sharp increase in the amount of Blue sharks in British water due to warmer sea temperatures.

Shark expert Douglas Herdson, 61, information officer at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Devon, said the attack was the first of its kind.

He said: 'Two people have been bitten by sharks in this country - but they were by smaller, less deadly sharks.  

'This is the first attack by a Blue shark in this country, but it is very unlikely to be unprovoked.'

Four people have been killed by Blue sharks, which grow up to 13ft long, worldwide and Herdson said they were one of the most efficient ocean hunters.

He said: 'They can be pretty big and they have very efficient teeth for killing and eating their prey. It would be very foolish to grab the wrong end of this shark.'

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