Over the weekend, a fisherman hooked a massive 14-foot hammerhead shark off the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas, describing the catch as a “catch of multiple lifetimes.”
According to a post on the South Texas Fishing Association’s Facebook page, Poco Cedillo said it took him nearly an hour to reel in the massive shark.
Cedillo stated that he and members of the association attempted to release the shark back into the ocean, but it was “too tired” and died.
“At the time, we didn’t bother getting a girth or fork length, and we didn’t even try tagging her,” Cedillo wrote on the Facebook page. “Our main goal was to get her released as soon as possible.” We had to accept that she was done after 30-40 minutes of us holding her up against the current in 3-4 feet of water.”
Following the shark’s death, Cedillo and members of the associations took photos and measured the shark, which measured 14 feet.
Because they couldn’t save the shark, they decided to save the meat.
“That’s what we did,” Cedillo explained. “Five to six of us went to work, and I’m pleased to report that all meat was saved, cooled, and donated.”
There are nine species of hammerhead sharks, seven of which are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. The Great Hammerhead can grow to be 25 feet long and live for 20 to 30 years. On Saturday, no one knows what kind of hammerhead was hooked.
Cedillo expressed regret that the shark did not survive, noting that it has always been his priority to release sharks back into the ocean after hooking them.
“People who know me know that I release every single shark I catch, so this hurts,” Cedillo said, adding that he wanted to inform the public about what had happened through the Facebook post in order to “shut down the rumors.”
Hundreds of comments have been left on the post, with some criticizing Cedillo and the crew for killing the shark and others defending the team’s efforts to free the hammerhead.
“As long as you did everything you could to save it and she died, it’s all good,” Ron Gentry wrote. “Hammers have a reputation for dying on the field. Congratulations on a monster catch and attempted release.”
Others were outraged by the catch.
“Everyone is commenting on how noble this group was in attempting to save this shark’s life; here’s my thought: that shark would not have died that day if they hadn’t been sport fishing,” Mike Beaman wrote.