Extremely rare goblin shark caught in Gulf of of Mexico

Fisherman calls it the ugliest thing he has ever seen.
By Matt Bradwell   |   May 3, 2014 at 4:20 PM
| License Photo

KEY WEST, Fla., May 3 (UPI) -- An extremely rare goblin shark was caught by shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico last month, only the second ever catch of its kind in the area.

The goblin shark was inadvertently reeled in with a barrel of shrimp collected roughly 2,000 feet below the surface. The crew that caught it took photos before safely releasing the fish back into the gulf.

"I've never seen something so ugly in my life," commercial fisherman Carl Moore told Florida news outlet KeysNet.com. "The teeth were so wicked looking, I didn't want anyone getting too close to it." The goblin shark looks unique among fish because its entire lower jaw detaches and protrudes, similar to the fictional title monsters in the 'Alien' film franchise.

John Carlson, a shark expert at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration greeted the accidental finding with enthusiasm.

"This is great news," Carlson explained to the Houston Chronicle. "This is only the second confirmed sighting in the Gulf, the majority of specimens are found off Japan or in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa."

Although the goblin shark was caught on April 19th, it was not announced until yesterday as it was only recently brought to the attention of NOAA. Based on the pictures taken by the shrimpers, Carson believes the goblin shark was a female.

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