Giant Tiger Shark, ‘Big As A Great White,’ Tagged Off Hilton Head Coast

A massive tiger shark, weighing in at 1,200 pounds, has been tagged off the coast of Hilton Head Island, and its size makes it the largest member of its species ever tagged on the East Coast.

The shark was caught last week near the mouth of Port Royal Sound, according to the State. Bryan Frazier of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources joined Captain Chip Michalove aboard his charter boat, the Outcast, on May 18 to track down sharks for research purposes. The chase to catch the massive shark lasted two miles, and when Michalove brought the animal alongside his boat, it was clear they had an unusual specimen on their hands.

“She is the biggest tiger shark ever tagged by anybody on the East Coast,” Michalove asserted. “Her head is as big as a great white’s head.”

The tiger shark measured 12 feet, two inches in length, weighing somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,200 pounds. By comparison, an average tiger shark weighs between 300 and 500 pounds, putting this specimen in a size range usually reserved for its cousin, the great white shark.

The anglers opted to name the shark Chessie after Beaufort County’s Chechessee River, according to the Island Packet. Frazier obtained blood and DNA samples from the shark before implanting her with a tracking device that should continue to function for the next seven years. During that period of time, observers can watch Chessie’s progress through the website of Ocearch, a non-profit group dedicated to tracking sharks worldwide.

While Ocearch has documented a number of sharks, their great whites have arguably garnered the most attention. Earlier this year, Mary Lee, a large female white shark, made headlines when she approached New York City before turning south once again, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

According to Michalove, his goal is to learn more about the sharks that call the East Coast home. He hopes that tagging sharks like Chessie, who has also been named as the new ambassador for the Port Royal Maritime Center, can prove to people that the animals aren’t out to get humans.

“We know we have an awesome shark fishery and we know they’re not dangerous,” he observed. “We’ve never had a tiger shark attack in the Carolinas and as close as they are, that shows we’re not on the menu.”

[Photo: Chip Michalove via The Island Packet]