The Big Blue Ocean Exploration

In Western Australia, fishermen’s surprise catch is a 13-foot great white shark

Accidental capture made in herring net; predator collected for research

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Great white shark is placed on a forklift to be taken away for research after its accidental capture off Western Australia this week. Credit Toni Wheatcroft, via Perth Now

A great white shark measuring more than 13 feet long and weighing 1,675 pounds became the surprise catch of the day earlier this week off Western Australia.

The massive predator was captured in a herring net put out Tuesday near Albany, and hauled in  Wednesday.

The shark, which apparently swam into the net overnight, was already dead when the net was hauled onto the beach. The news, and graphic photos showing up in the news, will incense those who believe white sharks do not receive enough protection (harvesting them is illegal in Australia).

Fisherman Dumpy Wheatcroft told Perth Now, however, that while white sharks are commonly seen during herring season, they’re rarely caught because they’re usually able to bite or tear through the netting if they become ensnared.

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The Fisheries Department of Western Australia, which collected the shark for research purposes, listed its length at 13 feet 5 inches, and its weight at just over 1,675 pounds.

“Given how few white sharks have been dissected around the world, this information will make an important contribution to the understanding of the species’ biology,” the agency said in a statement.

The fishermen are not expected to face charges because the capture was determined to have been accidental.

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