Fisherman misses world record for hammerhead shark on a technicality

While fishing from a beach in Western Australia, Jamie Dennis caught and released a great hammerhead shark that missed out on becoming a world record for released sharks due to a technicality.

Dennis, 25, spent an hour and a half reeling in the great hammerhead shark at Pages Beach in Geraldton, and landed the beast with the help of a friend, Mitchell Palmer, 7 News reported.

“Can’t believe this day,” Dennis wrote on Facebook. “I caught my dream shark. My first-ever great hammer.”

The pair measured the hammerhead shark, took photos and released it back into the ocean. They followed it in a kayak for about 100 yards before it “disappeared into the deep,” they told news.com.au.

The shark measured 3.85 meters or 12.6 feet and was caught on 65-pound-test line, which would have fallen into the 130-pound line-class category in the International Land Based Shark Fishing Association world-record book.

But Dennis missed one measurement.

“I can’t claim the record because I didn’t measure its girth,” Dennis told 7 News.

The current record for a caught-and-released hammerhead shark in the 130-pound line class (the other line-class category is 50 pound) was by Josh Emerson on Jensen Beach in Florida in April 2008. That hammerhead shark measured 12 feet, 1 inch with a 6-foot girth. Based on a formula using measurements, it weighed an estimated 758 pounds.

Dennis caught his shark last weekend and plans to return to Pages Beach this weekend.

“A few mates want me to show them how to catch sharks and I said I would,” he told 7 news.

While Dennis received plenty of adulation in Australia for his catch, not everybody was pleased with the result, despite the shark being released.

A local expert told WA Today that the shark almost certainly died.

Jessica Meeuwig of the University of Western Australia’s Center for Marine Futures cited research by the University of Miami that showed 56 percent of satellite-tagged caught hammerhead sharks died “even after being treated with kid gloves by professionals.”

“They are so sensitive to tagging most scientists don’t want to touch them,” she told WA Today.

“They are among the most endangered shark species in the world. Humans have reduced their number between half and 80 percent over the past 30 years.

“So that individual shark was a mature breeding animal that represents part of what could be the 20 percent remnant in the world. That’s what we are deciding to have sport with.”

It should be noted that this shark wasn’t tagged, and it would be impossible to ascertain that it “almost certainly died.”

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