Rare, Freakish Shark Caught in Gulf

Fishermen accidentally haul in a goblin shark

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 3, 2014 8:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico found a decidedly unshrimp-like creature in their haul last month: a rare and strange-looking goblin shark, reports the Houston Chronicle. While a bit more common in deep waters off Japan, this is only the second one ever spotted in the Gulf, notes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "This is great news," says one of its shark experts. The description in Nature World News helps explain the buzz: Goblin sharks—"with their fleshy pink skin, nail-like teeth that protrude from monstrous jaws and oddly long, flat snout—look like the quintessential horrors of the deep." That's right, pink.

The fishermen had no idea what it was, but they snapped photos before releasing the 18-foot-long shark back into the water. (That's an estimate, because no way were they getting near those teeth with a tape measure.) Relatively little is known about goblin sharks because they turn up so infrequently. Adds the fisherman who landed it off the Florida Keys: "The guys at NOAA said I'm probably one of only 10 people who've seen one of those alive." (Click to read about another underwater discovery, a hunting zone once used by humans.)

File photo of a goblin shark.
File photo of a goblin shark.   (Peter Halasz/Wikimedia Commons)
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