A possible record-breaking shark has been caught just outside of the Los Angeles Harbor.
Angler Jason Johnston of Mesquite, Texas hauled in a 12-foot-long, 1,300-plus-pound shortfin mako shark Monday off the coast of Huntington Beach, KTLA reports.
It took Johnston, who was on a charter fishing trip run by Mako Matt’s and Breakaway Charters, more than two hours to reel in the monster catch.
“It’s unreal. This thing is definitely a killing machine. Any wrong step, I could have gone out of the boat and down to the bottom of the ocean,” Johnston said to KTLA in the video above.
“He took out a quarter-mile of line ... and five times he came out of the water over 20 feet,” he said. “It was amazing.”
The shark was being taken to a weigh yard in Gardena to be certified by a weigh master, reports KTLA. It was expected to be donated for research.
As his group waited to hear whether the shark was indeed a record breaker, Johnston said the fishermen would head back out to sea Tuesday.
Last summer, environmentalists harshly criticized a group of fishermen who hooked an 800-pound mako shark off the coast of Marina del Rey. The angler told Marina Del Rey Patch that his group either consumed or froze the shark's meat and cut off and tossed its fins, which is in line with California law.
According to Patch:
In California, anyone with a fishing license can legally catch two sharks per day, and there is neither a legal minimum or maximum weight for catching a mako. Non-commercial fishermen are not allowed to sell the meat, and have to either donate it or consume it. It is also unlawful for anyone to possess, sell or trade a shark fin, which unlike shark meat that is worth only pennies a pound, can fetch upwards of $600 a pound.
At least two videographers involved in an Outdoor Channel reality television show -- "Jim Shockey's The Professionals" -- were on the fishing boat and the huge shark is already being promoted online, the Los Angeles Times reports.
David McGuire, director of Shark Stewards, a Bay Area-based nonprofit that advocates for the protection of sharks, told the Times he believed the mako should have been released.
“I’m a little shocked by it. It’s really something you see more in Florida than in California, where we have more of a conservation ethic," he said. “The reality is we’re overfishing sharks and this macho big-game attitude should be a relic of the past."
The International Game Fish Association still has to approve the catch, but a certified weigh master called it a world record at 1,323 pounds, ABC reports. That is a whopping 100 pounds over the previous world record for a shortfin mako shark of 1,221 pounds, caught off the coast of Chatham, Mass. in 2001.
Even though great white sharks are bigger, speedy makos hold more allure for fishermen, according to Field and Stream, for these reasons:
Whites may be the top of the line so far as size and popular interest are concerned, but they don’t nearly have the appeal for sport fisherman that that make does. [...] Makos generally feed on swift prey like tuna and swordfish. The shark is swift and unpredictable, you will sometimes be facing one direction and fighting a fish you think is deep, when suddenly, frighteningly, the mako will hurl itself into the air and go crashing back into the sea just a few yards from the cockpit.