According to a prominent shark researcher, a recent video posted on YouTube showing the capture of a great white shark is possibly the first documented instance of the species being caught from an Alabama beach.
J. Marcus Drymon, a well-respected expert on sharks and assistant extension professor at Mississippi State University, verified that the catch made by anglers in Orange Beach on March 6th was indeed a great white shark, as anticipated.
“The shark is easy to distinguish from most other shark species in the Gulf of Mexico; some distinguishing features that were noticeable on the video include a homocercal tail, a strong caudal keel and a conical snout,” Drymon said, according to AL.com.
He added that the catch was rare.
“I am only aware of a few great white sharks that have been caught from the beach near Alabama,” he said, adding that one was caught from a beach a few years ago in Pensacola. “This is likely the first great white shark caught from the beach in Alabama.”
The video shows the events leading up to the catch, featuring a group of fishermen and their uncertainty regarding the enormous creature they had captured.
One of the fishing guides can be heard confirming the catch, “You guys just caught the first ever-land based great white to hit a beach in Alabama.”
“I think it was an amazing opportunity these anglers had to experience catching one,” said Scot Bannon, director of the Marine Resources Divisions with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “They followed all of the precautions to ensure that safety was paramount to them, and others that would utilize the beaches.”
Bannon and Drymon concurred that capturing great white sharks near the coastal beaches will continue to be a rare event.
“We know they do spend time in the Gulf, but generally do not like the warmer waters that we have, and the food source close to shore is not really what they prefer,” Bannon said, according to AL.com.. “I doubt we will see this being a regular occurrence, just an exciting isolated event.”
In recent weeks, larger great white sharks have been monitored in the waters off Florida. However, Drymon reassured the public that there is no cause for alarm.
“This species is still rare this close in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said. “People should absolutely not be concerned that this shark is in the water. My three children and I will still swim on coastal Alabama beaches.”