Two fishermen in Western Australia spent 10 days fishing on a beach north of Carnarvon and reported catching and releasing 30 sharks, including two “mega sharks” that captured international attention, The West Australian reported.
Joshua Butterworth and Jethro Bonnichta of Esperance, Australia, posed for photos of a massive hammerhead shark and an equally huge tiger shark that were estimated to weigh between 770 and 880 pounds, according to the Daily Mail.
This week, Butterworth shared the photos with Rogue Offshore, a U.S.-based fishing company, and soon they gained worldwide attention by going viral on Facebook.
Bonnichta, who spent an hour and a half battling the 13.5-foot hammerhead, which stripped out 2,600 feet of line three times, collapsed from exhaustion afterward. The tiger shark took 30 to 40 minutes to land, presumably by Bonnichta (it was unclear who caught it), and was also over 13-feet long.
The pair also caught several lemon sharks and nurse sharks. All the sharks were released.
“We do a lot to make sure they are healthy,” Butterworth told Perth Now. “We got the sharks just on the edge of the water, so the water was still going through their gills [while taking photos]. We never kill any of them and we always take a lot of care in getting them back into the water.”
While the anglers were lauded for catching the mega sharks and releasing them, it wasn’t surprising that they received a share of criticism, too.
“Why can’t people just leave them alone?” one commenter wrote on the Rogue Offshore Facebook post, as reported by 9 News.
“I’ve fished all my life [and] know a few great well-known fisherman who don’t agree with this in WA,” another wrote.
Interestingly, fishing wasn’t the only activity the two participated in while camping on the beach.
“We were fishing straight out of our camp and we were swimming where we went fishing every day,” Butterworth told The Western Australian.
“These sharks are fine, they are well fed. It’s the ones near Esperance we worry about.”
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