An Australian fisherman named Matthew caught a massive 18-foot tiger shark off the coast of Nine Mile Beach early last month. The shark caught the attention of social media due to its massive size, sparking conservationist groups to demand who the fisherman responsible for the catch was.
Many mistook the shark for a great white due to its enormity, but spokesperson Karl Goodsell of the Byron Bay-based group Positive Change for Marine Life says the animal is definitely a tiger shark, a species which can grow up to seven meters (22 feet) long. Although the shark’s great size sparked the photos to go viral, Matthew believes that his catch wasn’t hugely impressive. He tells The Northern Star, “I’ve dived with sharks bigger than that, it’s only a little one.”
Matthew explains that his original goal was to catch a hammerhead shark, which was instead swooped up by the tiger shark before he hauled it in. He says, “I was fighting the Hammerhead and he came up and swallowed it”—which explains the tiger shark’s bloated figure.
— Daily Mail Australia (@DailyMailAU) August 12, 2015
Karl Goodsell, from Positive Change for Marine Life, calls himself both a surfer and a conservationist. His goal is to reach out to the public and help them understand the impact shark poaching has on the environment. He explains,
“The reality is that we need apex predators to ensure a healthy ecosystem balance in the oceans. Removing them while not understanding anything about their behaviour or migration patterns is a band-aid solution, which all science to date reflects will not solve the problem of shark attacks.”