The deep dark blue is full of mysterious secrets and creatures, which fisherman happen to stumble upon every now and then. We’ve only explored 20% of our oceans, leaving nearly 80% of it unmapped and undiscovered. Every year never before seen creatures make their way to the surface, shocking all who get to witness them.
Captain Carl Moore
Captain Carl Moore spends his day’s shrimp fishing enjoying the routine. It was spring in Key West, Florida and Moore was ready for what the day was about to bring him, or so he thought. The sun was shining and the breeze was whistling a cool wind, the day seemed perfect.
When he noticed something unusual was caught in his net, he was left in shock.
A Day To Remember
Moore had spent decades on the water and fishing was apart of his soul. But on April 19, 2014, he caught something he didn’t even know existed. He knew this was going to be a day to remember as he pulled the net closer to the surface, revealing the hideous creature.
The creature was thrashing and causing a scene, clearly fighting for its life. He was struggling to pull the net up all the way and began to worry that he was going to lose the net and whatever he had just caught. He was about ten miles off the coast, alone, and now fighting against a monster.
When he finally got the creature on board, he didn’t know what to think. He had never seen anything like it, and he knew it was something not seen by many. It looked kind of like a shark, but had a long hideous snout. It also looked to be dying very quickly, something the normal sharks that roam these waters don’t do.
“When it came up, I didn’t know what it was,” Moore told NBC. “I didn’t measure him because his head was slashing around, and he had some mean-looking teeth and I didn’t want to get caught up in those,” he stated. Fearing for his safety, he couldn’t do anything but stare, shocked at what he had just caught.
It was clear that the shark was deteriorating, and fast. But that didn’t mean it didn’t have some fight left in it. It looked as if its skin started to sag around the body instead of staying firm like most animals at that depths do. Its teeth were hideously protruding from its mouth, and its stare was the most intense stare Moore had ever seen.
A Close Call
As the captain got closer to the creature, it gave one last giant thrash and lunged towards him. Jumping back in terror, Moore knew this creature was about to put up a fight. He thought the shark deserved a chance to survive, especially after putting up this much of a fight.
He quickly grabbed his camera, ready to snap a few photos of the beast before releasing it. He knew no one would believe him if he didn’t have some evidence of this strange creature, and he was excited to have some proof. Plus, he knew he could use these pictures to learn more about the monster he discovered.
Letting It Go
Using a crane, he carefully picked the monster up. He then dropped it into the ocean, hoping to watch it swim away. He earned it, after all. He lingered in the area for a while, watching his one of a kind creature swim back into the depths where it came from.
When he got back to port, he decided to contact NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detailing his findings. Although Moore didn’t know what it was, researchers at NOAA knew immediately. There was only one creature that had all these attributes.
John Karlson, a researcher at NOAA, told NBC, “We don’t know very much about these animals, this is a very rare finding.” Although they don’t know the details of this creature, they do know its classification and a few interesting facts about it.
A Goblin Shark
It turns out, the creature that captain Moore caught was in fact, a goblin shark. The goblin shark isn’t often photographed because of its elusive nature. It also lives at depths as deep as 4,300 feet, making it one rarely witnessed creature.
Very Old Family
The goblin shark is usually seen near California and Japan, so how was it found in Florida? Unfortunately, not much is known about these sharks so scientists aren’t quite sure. However, they do know that they come from a family line that is 125 million years old.
One Big Shark
These sharks range from 10-13 feet in length and can weigh up to 465 pounds. Its sluggish body, small fins, and protruding jaw lead scientists to believe that it moves rather slowly through the water, preserving energy. Only 50 sharks have ever been observed, with the first in 1898.
Goblin sharks bones are also poorly calcified and their muscles are underdeveloped due to their natural environments deep beneath the surface of the ocean. When they’re brought up to the surface or shallow waters, they don’t do well due to the difference in pressure. They’re generally not seen as a threat to humans due to their habitats being so isolated.
Along with the little information about their life cycles, we know little about the reproductive stages. A pregnant female has never been observed in the wild, but it is believed that they don’t reproduce quickly due to their limited numbers. Scientists have even tried to keep the sharks in captivity to study them further, but sadly, to no avail.
Tokai University and Tokyo Sea Life Park
At Tokai University researchers were only able to keep a captive goblin shark alive for a day, unable to study it. At the Tokyo Sea Life Park, researchers tried again but were only able to watch it for two days before it perished. Although there wasn’t much information gathered in the short period of time that the sharks were alive, they do know the pressure needed to sustain life is greater than they originally thought.
In 2003 off the coast of Taiwan nearly 100 goblin sharks were caught at once, an occurrence that had never happened before and hasn’t happened since. Although scientists are unsure why the sharks came to the surface, they assume it was due to an earthquake that disturbed their normal behavior.
Still Much To Learn
The goblin shark remains one of the most interesting an elusive sharks our ocean has to offer. We have yet to investigate most of the darkest depths, but every year we learn more information about how amazing all sorts of creatures are at adapting to even the harshest environments. Hopefully, we will continue to learn more about this amazing creature in the years to come.