The catch and release of a young great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) off of a Florida beach near Panama City has been making headlines for the past few days. According to a photo on Dark Side Sharker’s Facebook page, fisherman Derrick Keeny landed the shark on March 1, 2015. The male white shark measured 9’8″ and is believed to be the first of its species to be landed from a beach in the Gulf of Mexico. The fisherman tagged the shark as part of the NOAA/NMFS Cooperative Tagging Plan and released it back into the ocean.
While the fishermen involved in the catch seemed to be well-intentioned with the tagging and release of the shark. Some shark researchers and conservationists called into question the legality of bringing the shark up onto the beach and posing for pictures, which is in violation of Florida’s protected species regulations, which specifically prohibit delaying the release of the shark for measurements and photos. It has yet to be reported whether the fishermen involved will be subjected to any legal repercussions.
The ABC News YouTube channel posted the video above last month which documents what the fisherman say is an 18′ white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) being hooked off the coast of Florida. According to a WFLA report, the video was shot March 15 about 30 miles of the coast of Treasure Island, Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. The fisherman reportedly had the shark on the line for nearly 3.5 hours before the crew cut the line, and let the shark “take the whole rig.”
Mote Marine Laboratory researcher Dr. Robert E. Hueter told WFLA that the shark in the video appears to likely be a member of the Lamnidae and is potentially a mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) or great white. Hueter went on to say that white sharks can occasionally end up in the Gulf.
Great white sharks are a protected species in Florida waters.
According to Business Insider article a report published today in the Journal of Fish Biology documents the first known discovery of a two-headed bull shark fetus (Carcharhinus leucas). The two-headed fetus was discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011, off the Florida coast. The shark fetus, along with multiple other live fetuses, was removed live from its mother by a fisherman. However, it died soon after being removed. According to the report, the fetus was a single shark with two-heads as opposed to being “conjoined twins.” It is the first known recorded case of a bull shark with two heads.
YouTube user Nickaway recently posted the video above which shows a group effort to help return what is listed as a 12.5′ tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) back to the water. The video was shot next to Bob Hal Pier in Corpus Christi, Texas. According to the video description the shark was tagged and released from the beach. Based on the video footage, it looks like quite a bit of effort was needed to get the shark back out into the gulf.
Kudos to all of those involved in the release effort.
According to the article, “Great White Shark Sighted Near Orange Beach”, the captain and crew aboard Chipper’s Clipper witnessed what they believed to be a great white shark on July 25. The shark was seen about 40 miles southeast of Orange Beach, Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Chip Day first spotted the shark about 200 feet from the boat. He initially thought that it was a mako, but as it got closer, he and fisherman, Joe Pruett, “were able to observe the jagged line separating the gray from the white on the shark’s body. It was then they realized they’d just had a close, rare encounter with a Great White Shark in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Pruett, who had served in the Navy and spent time in the Pacific, said he had seen a number of great white sharks, and the shark they witnessed in the Gulf “looked just like” the white sharks he had seen during his time in the Navy. Day, who has been fishing in the Gulf for 30 years, had seen numerous mako and bull sharks, but this was the first time he’d ever had an encounter with a white shark.
A picture of the shark’s dorsal fin, as well as, a shot of the shark taken from the surface are featured with the original article. Was this a rare encounter with a great white in the Gulf? Check out the pictures and the story to see for yourself.