Rare goblin shark caught off Key West, report shows

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Shrimp fishermen caught a 18-foot-long goblin shark just south of Key West last month, making it the second only of the species to be caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research biologist and shark expert John Carlson called the April 19 catch “an important scientific discovery,” the Florida Keys Keynoter reported.

The only other known goblin shark found in the Gulf was in July 2000, Mr. Carlson said.

The crew on the “Sea Angles” were shocked to see the mysterious pink shark thrashing about in their trawling net. They had been fishing for royal red shrimp in about 1,700 feet of water.

“Its teeth were so wicked looking, I didn’t want anyone getting too close to it,” said 63-year-old Carl Moore, who caught and released the shark. “It freaked me out, man. I’ve never seen something so ugly in my life.”

Goblin sharks have an elongated, flattened snout and a protruding jaw with narrow, jagged teeth. Little is known about the species, but they live in very deep water, typically in the Indian and Pacific oceans, The Keynoter reported.

David Schiffman, a marine biologist at the University of Miami, did not believe that a goblin shark would ever be found in the Gulf.

“At first I wasn’t sure if it was even possible for this to happen,” he said, as reported by The Telegraph. “But then, when the photos came through, it is undeniably a goblin shark.”

Even though Mr. Moore released the shark, he had the frame of mind to snap a quick photo. Scientists used that photo to estimate that the shark was a female and at least 18 feet long.

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