These incredible images of a huge shark caught off the coast of Australia have been flying around social media in recent days.
Initially, there were no details as to where, why or when the animal was caught – with conflicting sources stating it was captured at Lennox Head’s Seven Mile Beach a few days ago, and others claiming it was a while ago.
The image was posted to Facebook by Geoff Brooks, who told The Daily Mail that “as far as I’m aware; it was a kill order on a shark here on the far north coast that was identified as being responsible for a local attack.”
However, local news source The Northern Star reported that the impressive haul was caught by a local commercial fisherman named Matthew (last name not given) off the Tweed Coast.
Matthew stated he was attempting to reel in a hammerhead shark when the beast emerged from the water and swallowed it.
He was quoted as saying, “you can’t turn around and go no, don’t touch, to something like that.”
Marine conservation non-profit Positive Change for Marine Life reached out on it’s Facebook page for more information regarding the photos, later stating that “it does look like a Tiger Shark as indicated by the shape of its teeth.
White Sharks have triangular teeth while Tiger Sharks have curved cusps with serrated edges as seen here. Tiger Sharks are listed as near threatened by the IUCN red list and population trends are unknown.”
Karl Goodsell, a spokesman for the group, said that it looks to be approximately 3.5 to 4 meters (11.5 to 13 feet) long, implying it’s a sexually mature adult. According to National Geographic, tiger sharks can grow up to 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) and weigh up to 1,900 pounds (900 kilograms).
Goodsell also stated that he was able to identify the boat in the photos, confirming it to be a commercial fishing boat that is registered and licensed for shark fishing.
Initially, it was said the shark’s body had been handed over to CSIRO, but a spokesman has refuted that as false. Later reports state it was sold to a fish market, with the jaw kept as a trophy.
A flurry of shark attacks off the coast of New South Wales has recently given rise to a call for a cull. So far, there have been 12 reported shark-related incidents since February, with many of them occurring in July alone.
Shark conservation and shark attacks have both been prevalent in the media after a spate of attacks on the North Carolina coast and the viral video of star surfer Mick Fanning being curiously assessed by a great white during the J-Bay Open competition in South Africa.
However, shark researcher and curator of the International Shark Attack File George Burgess states that there was only three fatalities from shark attacks in 2014, most of which were more like “dog bites than something out of Jaws.” He also states in a piece originally posted to The Conversation that “more people die from drowning every day in this country than were killed by sharks in ten years.”