The remains of a shark caught by a commercial fisherman on the New South Wales South Coast is generating debate on social media about how the animal met its fate.
Bermagui local Jason ‘Trapman’ Moyce reeled the head onto his boat last week after it got hooked on a line reserved for smaller sea creatures.
Mr Moyce then shared an image to Facebook of his apprentice Jasper Lay holding the head of the shark with large bite-like chunks taken out of it.
“We see a lot of sharks get eaten — but this has to be one of the bigger ones,” Mr Moyce said.
“The softest part the body gets eaten first.
“I wouldn’t like to eat another shark’s head full of teeth either.”
Mr Moyce said he was surprised by the find, as because species is known to be a large and aggressive predator.
He said the head weighed nearly 100 kilograms, and he believed the shark would have weighed up to 300kg whole.
The fisherman said he did not angle for for mako sharks, because they had no commercial value.
Mako survived marlin stabbing
Mr Moyce believed the shark was likely eaten by another shark, such as a great white, or even cannibalised by one of its own kind.
After eight years of commercial fishing on the far South Coast, he said the find had unnerved him.
“I’m in a pretty big boat,” Mr Moyce said.
“But the thought of being in the ocean at night doesn’t really do me any favours.”
But the surprises did not stop there.
The shark head was found with a 30cm marlin bill lodged in its throat. (Facebook: Trapman Bermagui)
Mr Moyce found a 30-centimetre marlin bill sticking out of the shark’s throat.
He said the skin had healed over the puncture, indicating the bill had been inside the shark for years.
“It just shows the amazing healing powers of sharks,” Mr Moyce said.
“They’re quite an amazing creature, really.”
The image sparked a debate on social media about what species could have eaten the mako shark.
Simon De Marchi, a professional shark jaw restorer, who has done work for museums and research institutes around the world for 35 years, said a tiger shark was more likely culprit than a great white.
“By the look of the photograph itself, I would have thought it was a tiger shark,” Mr De Marchi said.
“The bite radius is quite wide.”
Jason “Trapman” Moyce has been fishing commercially on the Far South Coast for eight years. (Facebook: Trapman Bermagui)
He said it was common at this time of the year to see sharks on the east coast of Australia due to their natural migration patterns.
“These sharks can travel thousands of miles at a time, sometimes as far as New Zealand,” Mr De Marchi said.
“It’s not rare to see makos in that area this time of year.”
Mr De Marchi is hoping to obtain the shark head in order to restore it and learn more about its ability to recover from the marlin bill puncture.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a marlin bill stuck in a mako skull,” he said.
“Somehow these sharks manage to overcome their injuries and heal quite well.”
Mr De Marchi said more research was needed to better understand sharks and their predators.
“There’s always going to be something bigger out there we don’t know about,” he said.