Is this a World Record Shark?
The photo above has gone viral - Joey Polk filling up his truck at a local gas station with his 11-foot, 805-pound mako shark catch. The angler didn't intend to seek a whole lot of attention for it, he just wanted the meat and to try and get certified for a world record. However, that changed when West Calhoun, a passerby, snapped this photo and sent it to the Pensacola News Journal.
Naturally, the photo found its way social media, and the story blew up from there.
Polk made the catch off a Gulf Coast beach last week with the help of his cousin, Earnie. He says they usually release their catches, but this shark would not have lived and decided to keep the estimated 600 pounds of meat for consumption.
"It's a $10 per pound fish at the fish market. It sells right along with tuna and swordfish," Earnie Polk said to the Pensacola News Journal. "Between all of us [family and friends], there won't be a bit of it wasted."
Mako sharks are largely considered the best tasting species of shark.
For the full story on the Polk's latest catch, check out the Pensacola News Journal article here.
The cousins sent off an application to the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association (ILSFA) to try for a mako shark world record. The Polks are no strangers to the ILSFA: Earnie actually owns the current land-based mako shark record, a 674-pounder he caught back in 2009.
However, there's been a change in protocol as ILSFA, since 2012, only accepts record shark that have been released back to the wild.
The ILSFA made the change to promote responsible enjoyment of land-based shark fishing. You can read the full statement here.
This of course means the Polks will not be getting a new world record, something they are still hoping to get, though, with the argument that the shark would have died anyways if it was released.
Regardless of the outcome of the shark's record status, there's no doubting how much of a controversy this photo and what it represents has caused. WFN took a look at the world record debate a while ago, you can see for yourself what community members had to say here: Discussion: Is a Record Worth Killing a Fish Over?
So what do you think?
Should Joey Polk's fish stand as a world record, or do you support ILSFA's stance on only certifying released sharks for records?
Should sharks even be allowed to be harvested, even good-tasting ones like mako sharks?
Should sharks - or any fish for that matter- be released when it is clear that they will not live?