Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico 18 Feet Long Released

Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico

A rare goblin shark caught by a shrimp fisherman off the coast of Key West, Florida, in April is considered an important scientific discovery since it is only the second of its kind ever to be caught in the Gulf of Mexico.  The goblin shark is considered to be the rarest species of shark, and perhaps one of the ugliest.

 Rare Goblin Shark Caught

Rare Goblin Shark Caught

Carl Moore has been a shrimper for 50 years.  He recently told KeysNet.com, “I never seen something so ugly in my life.” He went on to say the shark’s teeth “were so wicked looking” that he told his crew not to go anywhere near it.

The April 19 catch was announced Friday because it was just brought to the attention of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The Houston Chronicle reported.

The pink shark was estimated to be about 18-feet long.  It is a bottom-dwelling shark and is rarely seen at the surface or in shallow coastal waters.  This fish was reportedly pulled in with a barrel full of shrimp about 2,000 feet below the surface.

Most specimens are found off Japan or in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa.   NOAA Fisheries Service reported this was only the second goblin shark of record in the Gulf of Mexico. The first was captured on July 25, 2000, by commercial fishermen in more than 3,000 feet of water.

goblin shark

Rare Goblin Shark Caught

The fisherman, Mr. Moore,  told the Houston Chronicle via SFGate that he didn’t know what it was, and that he “didn’t get the tape measure out because that thing’s got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage.”

So Moore instead took photos of the beast, winched it over the side of the boat, and released the bizarre-looking fish, which swam away.

Scientists were grateful the prehistoric-looking goblin shark was released alive, but disappointed over not being able to examine it and learn more about it.

“We don’t even know how old they get, how fast they grow,” NOAA shark expert John Carlson told the Chronicle.

Goblin Shark
The goblin shark being winched over the side of the boat to be released; photo by Carl Moore, courtesy NOAA

 Moore, who called the catch the highlight of his 50 years of shrimp fishing, said NOAA told him that “I’m probably one of the only 10 people who’ve seen one of these alive.”

According to the department of Ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, goblin sharks, also known as elfin sharks, are widely distributed globally, though few are caught because of their deep-water residence.

They are mostly found near continental slopes in 885 to 3,149 feet of water. They have been observed as deep as 4,265 feet and as shallow as 311 feet.

Goblin sharks are said to be the only living member of the Mitsukurinidae family, a lineage said to be 125 million years old.

Obviously they are distinct for their unusual head, with an elongated, flattened snout and protruding jaw with sharp rows of teeth.

goblin shark

Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico 18 Feet Long Released

Sources:  Fox News and GrindTV


I hope you have enjoyed, “Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico 18 Feet Long Released


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Jeanne Melanson
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7 thoughts on “Rare Goblin Shark Caught in Gulf of Mexico 18 Feet Long Released”

  1. Wow, what a cool animal, I would love to see one! I am so glad that the shrimpers let it go. Thanks Jeannie. Jon

  2. Wow, I’ve heard of them but I actually thought that Goblin sharks were quite small. I wouldn’t like to come across one of those while I was swimming! Eeek!

  3. Ughh! That is so scary looking. I do not like the sea life here in Florida.It is pretty cool that they caught it though so they can study it a little more.

  4. We are great fans of ocean life and conservation, and I have never heard any stories about this goblin shark. We just finished watching a series of tiger sharks and this goblin sharks closely resembles an earlier version of that shark – maybe from its descendents millions of years ago? I don’t know. In any case, this is such an important scientific discovery. Thank you so much for sharing.
    Dorit Sasson
    Giving a Voice to Your Story

  5. Most definitely one of the strangest creatures I’ve ever seen! Just when you think you’ve been around the block a bit, something like this reminds you how strange and wonderful this planet of ours can be. Thanks for sharing Jeanne.

  6. That is one different looking fish! I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard of them – how wonderful the creature was released – I hope he (or she) survives, given the normal home is so deep.

  7. Very cool that Mr.Moore let the shark go instead of killing it for a trophy,methinks he will be remembered for that more then catching it.


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