Shark Week Takes On 'El Monstruo,' Legendary 21-Foot Great White Shark

Discovery's impending Shark Week is set to take up the story of yet another massive great white, named "El Monstruo" by natives of the Cuban fishing village where it was caught.

The massive white shark was caught off the northern coast of the island nearly 70 years ago, according to the Sun Sentinel. Six fishermen hooked the shark in the waters north of Cojimar, and El Monstruo was documented in black and white photographs that still survive. From those images, experts have estimated that the giant white shark could have weighed as much as 7,000 pounds.

El Monstruo will feature in the Shark Week episode Tiburones: Sharks of Cuba, which also marks the first time that the long-running event has filmed in the island nation. Scientists from both Sarasota's Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium as well as Cuba's Center for Coastal Ecosystems Research are featured in the episode, which sees them attempting to track great white, mako, tiger, and hammerhead sharks off the island's coast.

Though the giant great white shark seems hardly believable, its existence has been confirmed by more than just a series of photographs. For the episode, Shark Week producers interviewed Osvaldo "Ova" Carnero, who was just a boy when the white shark was caught and witnessed El Monstruo with his own eyes.

"My brothers and my mother took me there and made me sit on the its head. It was pretty cold," he recalled. "All the fishermen and their families came down. They were excited because they had never seen such a big animal in Cojimar."

The giant shark is hardly the first to be addressed by Discovery, with varied results. Over the last few years, Shark Week has come under fire for a series of mockumentaries that suggested massive sharks like a megalodon, or South Africa's legendary "Submarine," might exist somewhere in the world's oceans. As the Inquisitr previously reported, these programs used fabricated evidence and actors standing in as shark researchers, drawing the swift condemnation of the scientific community for misleading the public.

Discovery has also examined the Prince Edward Island white shark, another giant animal that was caught in 1983. Research conducted earlier this year determined that despite its staggering size, the white shark was just a teenager when it was killed, as Grind TV reported.

Tiburones: Sharks of Cuba will air at 10 p.m. on July 7, bringing giant sharks back to Discovery and El Monstruo to the world at large.

[Image: Discovery via Sun Sentinel]