Fishermen Catch 700 Pound Mako Shark In Florida

Crowds gathered to watch fishermen reel in a 700 pound mako shark at a Florida pier this week, marveling as they landed the massive predator that has proven to be a boon for scientists.

Joey Polk and his cousins, who together form fishing club Team True Blue, landed the massive mako shark off Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on Thursday. The shark, which measured 10 feet, 9 inches, was a female, and 60 people helped to drag the animal from the pier’s end to the shore. Once there, the shark was winched onto a flat bed tow truck and transported to Milton, where it was stored in an ice-filled cooler called a “fish coffin.”

Though Polk and his cousins, Earnie Polk and Kenny Peterson, have previously caught larger mako sharks, including an 805 pound specimen earlier this year, they elected to keep the one they landed on Thursday. Normally, the team tag and release the sharks they catch as part of an effort coordinated with Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. Their decision to keep the mako was spurred in part by Polk’s children, who wanted shark for dinner, but also by researchers’ desire to study a large predator that was caught close to shore.

Scientists drove 10 hours overnight in order to harvest samples from the mako shark. They removed the animal’s backbone, the contents of its stomach and some of the shark’s organs.

“This is a big stepping stone for them,” Polk asserted.

Team True Blue have perfected the methods that they use to lure and catch sharks over time, and according to Polk, the knowledge they have gained has proven invaluable.

“There’s absolutely a secret to catching this monster fish, and that’s just one I’ll never tell,” he said. “Our team has just come together and perfected what we do. We’ve researched our beach, we know our sharks, we’ve charted our waters.”

The fastest of all sharks, makos are capable of reaching speeds of 60 mph while hunting. Often killed for sport and because of their aggressive nature, makos are considered a vulnerable species, though they have shown a remarkable ability to adapt.

Scientists concluded their examination on Friday, leaving Team True Blue to butcher what remained of the mako shark.

[Image via the NWF Daily News]

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