Mystery surrounds massive tiger shark caught off Australia

A massive tiger shark was likely caught by a commercial fisherman on a drum line. Photo: Handout
A massive tiger shark was likely caught by a commercial fisherman on a drum line.

An incredibly massive tiger shark presumably caught by a commercial fisherman off the coast of New South Wales, Australia, has raised questions as to who caught it, who took the photos and whether it is real or not.

The photos gained traction on social media Tuesday when Geoff Brooks of Byron Bay in New South Wales posted them on Facebook, saying the tiger shark was caught off 7 Mile Beach over the weekend.

"Yes—it's real," The Daily Telegraph announced Wednesday in a story about the shark that comes amid talk among Byron Bay surfers about culling sharks because of the numerous great white shark sightings in the area.

The Daily Telegraph wrote that the Byron Bay-based group Positive Change for Marine Life reported that the shark was caught off Nine Mile Reef by a licensed commercial shark fishing boat and was believed to be 13-feet long, though it appears much larger than that. It was likely caught on a shark drum line, the newspaper reported.

A massive tiger shark was likely caught by a commercial fisherman on a drum line. Photo: Handout
A massive tiger shark was likely caught by a commercial fisherman on a drum line.

The Northern Star originally ran the handout photos and has continued to update the story. On Wednesday, it reported that a fisherman named “Matthew” claims he caught the tiger shark three weeks ago 14 miles off Tweed Heads, saying he was "fighting a hammerhead [shark] and he came up and swallowed it." He also claims to have taken the photos.

The Daily Telegraph reported that other fishermen have said the shark photos were taken "ages ago" with some claiming to have caught it.

However, it makes most sense that the tiger shark was caught on a drum line, which consists of a floating drum with an anchor attached to one line and a baited hook attached to another. They have been used in Australia to protect beaches.

This tiger shark likely would have drowned on a drum line, making it easier for a commercial boat to lift the behemoth into the boat. And the tiger shark appears to be on the deck of a commercial fishing boat.

The tiger shark was said to have been sent to fish markets, except for the jaws. The Northern Star reported that Matthew kept those as a souvenir … if he indeed caught the fish in the first place.

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