Pink Goblin Shark: Fisherman Nets Deep Sea Creature Near Key West

Monday, 05 May 2014 01:45 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Pink goblin sharks are hardly ever seen and even more rarely caught, which is why when a fisherman near Key West, Florida, netted one of the elusive, freakish-looking fish last month, it made news across the country.

"I never seen something so ugly in my life," Carl Moore, a commercial fisherman and shrimper of 50 years who hauled in the goblin shark on April 19, told KeysNet.com. "Its teeth were so wicked looking, I didn’t want anyone getting too close to it."

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Known as the "pink giant" for its uniquely reddish-pink color, the scarcity of the goblin shark made last month's catch off the coast of Florida of particular interest to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

"This is great news," NOAA shark expert John Carlson told The Houston Chronicle. "This is only the second confirmed sighting in the Gulf, the majority of specimens are found off Japan or in the Indian Ocean and around South Africa."

According to Carlson, the goblin shark earned its other nickname, "the living fossil," because of its long snout and protruding jaw with its jagged, razor-like teeth that appear prehistoric. The goblin shark has been around for 125 million years.

So little is known about the deep-sea predator that "we don't even know how old they get, how fast they grow," Carlson added.

"They are a very rarely seen animal that has not been studied enough, as soon as the news got out, I got more than two dozen requests for different measurements," University of Miami marine biologist David Shiffman told The Chronicle.

"The guys at NOAA said I'm probably one of only 10 people who've seen one of those alive," Moore said.

Rather than keep the rare pink goblin shark, Moore decided to release it back into the ocean adding, "That's my ocean out there and anything in it concerns me . . . I know the value of trying to preserve things."

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