One of the largest bull sharks ever recorded – weighing in at 800 to 1,000 pounds – has been pulled in by researchers off the Florida keys. The enormous bull shark was caught by the University of Miami’s Neil Hammerschlag, whose team tags them for research. Hammerschlag has tagged more than 1,000 sharks in his career, but this one far exceeds any of the others in size. A typical bull shark in South Florida waters weighs 100 to 300 pounds and the largest bull shark ever previously recorded was 697 pounds and was caught off the coast of Kenya.
The numbers of aggressive bull sharks have been declining in recent years, and Hammerschlag said he was encouraged by the presence of such a large female shark. While it may not be good news for swimmers, snorkelers and divers, it is for the bull shark species.
The huge bull shark was caught along a reef in about 150 feet of water off the coast of Islamorada as part of a research project that surveys sharks in the area. The sharks are caught using what are called drum lines, combined with bait that specifically attracts sharks and a system that hooks them in the corner of the mouth. Once pulled in, the researchers take blood and tissue samples, tag them with monitoring devices and release them.
The capture of the enormous bull shark was recorded by Dan Crowell Digital Media Productions: