A great white shark was caught last Saturday off Ocean City, Md., and Capt. Dustin Lorah does not understand why there’s so much media interest this week.
The catch is generating interest because white shark catches are rare – this is only the third Lorah has seen in two-plus decades of fishing East Coast waters – and because they’re the planet’s most notorious predators.
Said Marshall Vitale, 53, who reeled the 7-foot shark to the vessel Over-Board: “I’ve caught a lot of sharks in my life, but this was scary. It was a scary-looking fish.”
Photos of the shark, before it was carefully released, were posted to Facebook, which sparked the interest.
Lorah and Vitale were part of a five-man crew fishing 11 miles offshore. The group had caught seabass and flounder before the reel began to click as line slowly went out, indicating a bite.
“We didn’t know until it was beside the boat that it was a great white,” Lorah said.
The juvenile shark came in without much of a fight, but watching the shark, especially as it swam away after the line was cut, was described by Vitale as “very thrilling.”
Many of the Facebook comments were from people congratulating the crew for its quick release of the junior apex predator.
Some, however, were from people expressing fear of the ocean, even though the catch was made 11 miles offshore. “And this is why I stay out of the water,” reads one such comment.
White sharks, which are a protected species, can grow to about 18 feet and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.
With summer approaching, white shark sightings are expected to increase in East Coast and West Coast waters.
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