A giant tiger shark, measuring over 13 feet in length, was caught and then released off the coast of South Carolina this week, and speculation has centered around the idea that the predator may have been of world record size.
According to Shark Attack News, officials with South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources hooked the massive tiger shark around October 24. The predator was caught with a longline, which DNR officials utilize in order to capture, tag, and take blood samples from sharks in the local waters. Measuring 13 feet, 6 inches, the shark was a female, displaying a considerable girth.
In a post to the Sharks On The Sand message board, an account seemingly affiliated with local anglers Outcast Sport Fishing posted a photo of the tiger shark, lashed to the side of a boat. The shark was suspended upside down, creating an effect known as tonic immobility. As the Inquisitr has previously noted, this orientation naturally yet harmlessly paralyzes the shark, allowing researchers to perform their work without fear of attack.
— Michelle Jewell (@MichelleWcisel) October 29, 2014
Speculation has been raised that the massive tiger shark may be a world record catch, based solely on the specimen’s weight. In 1964, a tiger shark measuring 13 feet, 10.5 inches was caught by Walter Maxwell in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, weighing in at an astonishing 1,780 pounds. This animal stood as the world record for the species until 2004, when a tiger shark weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces more was caught off the coast of Ulladulla, Australia.
A string of recent Tiger Shark attacks in Maui have locals, tourists, and officials on edge. http://t.co/X7spVLZwq6 pic.twitter.com/eQcqJ1vsWr
— Sundance Beach (@SundanceBeach) October 29, 2014
Recently, tiger sharks have been blamed for a spate of attacks in Hawaii. Three separate incidents occurred last week, when the passing of Hurricane Ana resulted in murky waters, a known risk factor for ambush-style shark attacks. The incidents took place near Maui, as the sharks left 14-inch bite marks in a surfboard and two paddleboards. While the similarity of the bite size suggests that the same tiger shark may have been responsible for the trio of attacks, none of the beachgoers involved were injured.
While there is no way to be certain whether or not the animal possessed a world record weight, there can be little doubt that the waters off South Carolina harbor a tiger shark of exceptional size.
[Image: Outcast Sport Fishing via Sharks On The Sand]