Rare Goblin Shark Caught In Florida Waters, First Sighting In Over A Decade

Captain Carl Moore, a shrimp fisherman who spends 300 days a year at sea, has caught the rare and elusive goblin shark on April 19.

Moore, together with other fishermen, were out in the Key West, Florida gulf waters for a shrimping expedition. As they hauled up their fishing net, they were surprised to see a monstrous-looking shark thrashing with the pile of shrimp.

“I didn’t know what it was,” Moore said. He snapped an image of the shark before throwing it back into the sea. “I never seen something so ugly in my life,” Moore, 63, said. He has been a fisherman for 50 years of his life and has caught sharks in his expeditions, but never one as ugly as the goblin shark that he caught.

Moore did not even attempt to measure the shark, since it was thrashing around the boat and he didn’t want to be caught up in its “mean-looking teeth.”

Rare Goblin Shark

Moore and his crew returned to shore on Wednesday, reported his catch, and showed a picture of the goblin shark to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Research biologist John Karlson was a bit disappointed that the Moore let the shark go, as the goblin shark is a rare find and they have not had the chance to know more about them. According to reports, Moore’s catch is the only second sighting of the goblin shark in the Gulf of Mexico. The first one seen in the area was in 2000.

The goblin shark is said to live in the deep waters, but not much information is known about them as they are rarely caught. Reports from NOAA say that the shark is reported to have been seen in the western Pacific off the coast of New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Goblin sharks have distinct features that set them apart from other sharks. They have blue fins, a pinkish color, and a long head with a protruding jaw. Charlott Stenberg, a marine biologist, said that goblin sharks “don’t have any commercial value, other than their jaws.”

According to Karlson, goblin sharks range in length from 10 to 13 feet. However, he said that the one Moore caught was about 18 feet based on the pictures that were taken. They also assumed that it was female.

NOAA encourages people to call in and report findings of rare species so that they can collect more information about them.

“That’s my ocean out there and anything in it concerns me. I know the value of trying to preserve things,” Moore said referring to the fact that he let the goblin shark go back to its natural habitat. He never intended to keep it as a trophy.

[Images via Business Insider]