1,300-pound shark caught may set a new world weight record

1,300-pound shark caught may set a new world weight record

1,300-pound shark caught may set a new world weight record

American fishermen have caught an "enormous" 600-kg mako shark off the coast of Huntington Beach in California, which may set a new world weight record, a report said today.

Jack Vitek, the world records coordinator for the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), said that if Monday's catch of a 1,323-pound (600-kg) mako shark meets the group's requirements, it would break the standing mako record set in July 2001, when a 554-kg (1,221-pound) shark was hauled in off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts.

It takes about two months for the Florida-based group that has regularly tracked world-record catches since 1939, to verify domestic catches, Vitek said.

And this catch is "enormous," he was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.

Of the 6,850 world records the IGFA has on file, only 23 involve fish topping 590 kgs (1,300 pounds), Vitek said. That means the Huntington Beach mako would fall within the top half-per cent.

The largest catch on record was a 1,208-kg (2,664-pound) great white shark reeled in off the coast of Australia in 1959, Vitek said.

"Seeing a fish over 1,000 pounds -- whether it's a shark, a tuna or a billfish -- it's extremely rare," he said.

Adding to the complexity of the catch is the mako's speed, he said. The sharks are among the fastest out there.

"They're a very elite game fish, and to have the all- tackle IGFA record is any kind of big game angler's dream," he said.

"There may or may not be anything tangible in terms of financial reward or endorsement, but just having that credit to your name and having that honour is pretty big."

At least two videographers involved in an Outdoor Channel reality television show -- "Jim Shockey's The Professionals" -- were on the fishing boat and the massive catch is already being promoted online.

Corey Knowlton, one of the co-hosts of the show, described the shark to KTLA-TV Channel 5: "It's basically like a giant nightmare swimming around."

Makos are common off the coast of Southern California, which is considered a "nursery ground" for the young sharks, according to Nick Wegner, a fisheries research biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

They tend to stay in open-ocean area -- they don't come to the surf zone and "very rarely have any interactions with people," Wegner said, though fishermen commonly catch smaller makos between 2.5 and 6 feet long.

"Encountering one this big is rare," he said.