In a twist of fate almost stranger than fiction, a Georgia man caught one of the most bizarre and rare species of shark in the Gulf of Mexico.
On April 19, a commercial fisherman, Captain Carl Moore, of Georgia, was fishing off the Florida Keys for royal shrimp in 2,000 feet of water when he pulled his net up and found more than just shrimp. Moore, 63, said he didn't want to get close to the shark with a tape measure, but it was estimated to be about 15 feet long.
"It was uglier than a mother-in-law," Moore told a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist he reported his catch to. After snapping a few quick photos with his phone, Moore released the shark alive and back into the Gulf of Mexico. Despite the bizarre appearance, the catch was described by Moore as a highlight of his 50 years of shrimping.
"I didn't even know what it was," Moore told the Houston Chronicle. "I didn't get the tape measure out because that thing's got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage."
The goblin shark is only the second on record to have been caught in the Gulf, the first since 2000. Goblin sharks, or elfin sharks, are deep water sharks widely distributed throughout the world, but with larger concentrations of the species in the canyons around Japan, the Indian Ocean and South Africa. They have been observed at depths from 311 feet to over 4,000 feet.
In an official statement regarding Moore's catch, NOAA said its "biologists encourage people to call and report these rare sightings and catches, as the information they can collect allows them to know more about a species."
Because of the rarity of the shark, especially in these parts of the world, information on the goblin shark is lacking tremendously.
"We don't even know how old they get, how fast they grow," NOAA shark expert John Carlson told the Chronicle.
"I'm probably one of the only 10 people who've seen one of these alive," Moore said he was told by NOAA.
Goblin sharks are easily identifiable by their protruding jaws, and their pinkish color. In Japan, they are known as Tenguzame, named after the mythical half human and half bird creature called Tengu. It's not uncommon for species like the goblin shark to occasionally end up as bycatch on commercial deep sea fishing expeditions, as was the case with Moore.
Unlike most species of shark, "they don't have any commercial value, other than their jaws," says Charlott Stenberg, a marine biologist.
It wasn't even a question for Moore as to whether or not he should release the shark. "That's my ocean out there and anything in it concerns me...I know the value of trying to preserve things," Moore said.
Game & Fish staff member Tim Carini kills it on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee with bass at 9 and 10 pounds. Atta boy, Tim! See it on Camera Corner now.
10-year-old Luke Carpenter caught this 24-inch brown trout while ice fishing on Muskegon Lake, Mich.
On March 1, 2014, Lawson Boyte broke the Louisiana state record with this 114-lb blue cat from the Mississippi River. See it on Camera Corner now.
Donee Chin, age 16, of Palm Desert, shot her first goose in Greeley, CO on January 23, 2014. The hunt was with Ponderosa Outfitters. The guided hunt was with guide Jason, her father Jon, and family friend Scott Frederick from Colorado Springs, CO.
Check out this monster 62-inch redfish caught out of Belhaven, NC!
4-year-old Jackson Fischer bagged his first turkey in Collier County, FL.
Lori Mayer from Marlow, OK harvested her first buck ever, a mature 10 point in 2013 rifle season. First time in a blind by herself, first buck she's seen in the wild, first shot!
Nick's Texas Catfish
Nick caught this blue catfish fishing with North Texas Catfish Guide Service and Catfish Edge on March 1, 2014 at Eagle Mountain Lake in Texas. The blue catfish was released after photos and measurements.
Dalton Crumley with his Illinois panfish.
Jake Pierce killed this turkey on the second morning of the juvenile hunt in Tennessee. It had a 11-1/2 inch beard, 1-1/4 inch spurs, and weighed 24 pounds.
Jeff Scales caught this nice steelhead fly fishing on the Salmon River in Pulaski, NY.
12-year-old Shayna Sprinkle, of Keosauqua IA, with her youth season buck 18-1/4 inch spread 8-point.
We want to give a big high five to 6-year-old Lillie Spruill, who caught this big North Carolina bass her first time ever fishing.