Pink and prehistoric looking, a goblin shark made its way onto a shrimping boat in the Gulf of Mexico after it was accidentally caught in the net. The shark was caught off Key West, Florida.
It was 18-feet-long with a long snout to conceal its pointy teeth from prey. The goblin shark is known to live in the deep waters of Japan and a Gulf sighting is so rare that its the first in over 10 years.
“I didn’t even know what it was,” fisherman Carl Moore told the SF Gate.”I didn’t get the tape measure out because that thing’s got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage.”
Instead of keeping the shark to do research, Moore decided to snap a quick photo of the fish with his cell phone then release it back into the water.
Moore showed a photo of the shark to his grandson who was thrilled with the discovery.
“My 3-year-old grandson, he just loves sharks so I’ve been taking pictures of every one we find, when I showed him this one he said, ‘Wow, Pappa!’” Moore said.
The shark was netted on April 19th but it wasn’t until yesterday that Moore reported his catch to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Based on photographs researchers guessed that the shark was a female and at least 18-feet-long.
“This is great news,” said John Carlson, shark connoisseur at NOAA. “This is only the second confirmed sighting in the Gulf, the majority of specimens are found off Japan or in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa.”
Scientists know so little about the fish that they can’t even determine how old or how big it gets. However, scientists do know that deep underwater the color red appears black making the shark appear almost invisible to predators and prey. Researchers also believe that the shark’s long snout is equipped with electrical sensors so that it can find prey even when it can’t see or hear anything in the depths of the water.
Perhaps the shark’s most frightening feature is its jaw which snaps out like a Venus fly trap to catch nearby fish.
Shark Blogger and University of Miami marine biologist David Schiffman didn’t even believe that finding a goblin shark in the gulf was possible.