Two commercial fishermen in Mexico received the surprise of a lifetime Sunday when they hauled up a great white shark measuring nearly 20 feet and weighing about 2,000 pounds, according to local news reports. The rare catch of such a large white shark — at 20 feet it’d be among the longest ever recorded — was made in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez near Guaymas, by fishermen who thought they had merely scored a large haul of much smaller fish as they hoisted up their net.
“We were amazed and immediately realized that we had a huge, dead, great white shark, and then we thought what are we going to do?,” Guadalupe, one of the fishermen, said in an interview with Pisces Sportfishing, which is located in the Baja California resort city of Cabo San Lucas. The other fisherman was named Baltazar.
The shark was dead when it was brought to the surface. The fishermen, whose skiff measures 22 feet and is powered by a 75-horsepower outboard, required an hour to tow the carcass two miles to the coast. About 50 people helped drag the behemoth onto dry sand. Milenio News reported the length of the fish to be six meters, or 19.8 feet.
“Guadalupe and Baltazar swore they had never seen a fish this big before in their lives,” the Pisces blog stated. “Even though on March 13 of this year, some of their fellow fishermen had also caught a great white, which had weighed 990 pounds.”
It remains unclear what the fishermen did with the shark, but scientists were hoping to obtain tissue samples for study.
Adult white sharks were once believed to be infrequent visitors to the Sea of Cortez, or Gulf of California. But it’s now believed that parts of the gulf serve as a nursery for the species.
“While it’s unusual that fishermen will land sharks that large, the occurrence of large adult white sharks is not uncommon for Gulf waters,” said Christopher Lowe, a Southern California white shark expert who has conducted extensive tagging studies involving the species. “In fact, several satellite tagged sharks from California and Guadalupe Island [west of Baja California] have traveled into the gulf. So we know they are there.”
While in gulf waters, adult white sharks are believed to prey largely on Humboldt squid and sea lions.