A huge great white shark snatched a 100 pound tuna from a Hawaii fisherman, leaving his hand “all cut up” from where the fishing line was dragged deep underwater.
Nick Morris, who was 15 miles off Honolulu County, had the yellowfin tuna on his fishing line when a great white shark appeared by the side of his boat, local broadcaster KHON2 reported.
The shark snatched the tuna from Morris’ fishing line in a matter of seconds, dragging it 30 to 40 feet underwater. In an interview with the television station, Morris showed KHON2 the red mark on his hand where the fishing line was dragged from his hand.
When Moris pulled the line back up to see what was left “the whole [fish] was gone” and the line was “chopped from the very top.”
Great white sharks are usually found in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, the North Atlantic, and Northeastern Pacific. They are rarely seen near Hawaii.
They occasionally visit Hawaii’s waters from Mexico and California, but experts are not sure why. Some think they are attracted by the humpback whale breeding season, which takes place off the coast of Hawaii from November to April—great whites are known to feast on whale carcasses.
Five minutes after snatching the fish, the shark reappeared at the side of the 27 foot fishing boat. When Morris got a better look at the shark, he estimated it measured between 17 to 19 feet, the broadcaster reported.
Great whites have been known to reach up to 20 feet long, but this is rare. The average size for an adult great white is between 15 to 16 feet.
The shark was so huge that at first, Morris thought it might have been a whale shark. This is the world’s largest fish and can grow up to 39 feet long.
“I seen big sharks but not that big, like two weeks ago, we had a 12-foot shark eat one of our fish next to the boat, but it’s normal,” Morris told KHON2. “It was wide. I was telling my friend whatever happens, do not fall in because he just ate a 100-pound ahi no problem at all, and he still came back he probably wants more.”
This was only Morris’ second encounter with a great white, despite having fished for decades.
Morris took several clips of his encounter, which KHON2 showed to Carl Meyer, a member of the shark research team at the Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology.
Meyer told KHON2 that the shark’s slightly pointed snout is a typical feature of the great white. The ease with which it snatched the tuna fish was also a giveaway, he said—whale sharks can only eat small shrimp, fish and plankton, while a great white’s jaws are made for eating larger prey.
Great white sharks are a listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List, with a decreasing global population. It is hunted for its fins and teeth and as a trophy for sport fishing.