A fisherman hooked a massive 14-foot hammerhead shark over the weekend off the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, a feat he called a “catch of multiple lifetimes.”
Poco Cedillo said it took him nearly an hour to reel in the huge shark, according to a post on the South Texas Fishing Association’s Facebook page.
Cedillo said he and members of the association tried to release the shark back into the ocean but it was “too tired,” and it did not survive.
“At the time we didn’t bother getting a girth, fork length or even tried tagging her,” Cedillo wrote on the Facebook page. “Our main focus was to get her released quickly. After 30-40 minutes of us holding her up into the current in 3-4 feet of water, we were faced with accepting the fact that she was done.”
After the shark died, Cedillo and members of the associations snapped some photos and measure the shark, which came in at 14 feet.
They decided to save the meat since the couldn’t save the shark.
“So that’s what we did,” Cedillo said. “Five to six of us went to work, and I’m happy to say that all meat was saved, cooled down and donated.”
There are nine species of hammerhead sharks, seven of which are on the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s endangered Red List. The largest, the Great Hammerhead, can grow to a length of 25 feet and live 20 to 30 years. It’s unknown what type of hammerhead was hooked on Saturday.
Cedillo expressed remorse that the shark did not survive, noting that his priority has always been to release sharks back into the ocean after he hooks them.
“People that know me know that I release every single shark I catch so this hurts,” Cedillo said, noting that he wanted to tell the public what had happened via the Facebook post to “shut down the rumors.”
The post has been met with hundreds of comments, with some lashing out at Cedillo and the crew for killing the shark, while others defended the team’s efforts in trying to release the hammerhead.
“As long as you did everything you could to revive it and she still passed, it’s all good,” wrote Ron Gentry. “Hammers are notorious for dying on the line. That’s a monster catch and attempted release, congrats.”
Others vehemently condemned the catch.
“Everyone is commenting how this group was so noble trying to save this shark’s life, here’s my thought: had they not been sport fishing, that shark wouldn’t have died that day,” Mike Beaman wrote.