An incredible tiger shark catch off Australia weighed in at 1,379 pounds, but the controversy after the fact might weigh even more.
The photo of three fishermen who struck pay dirt with a massive tiger shark that is a pending world record for the species has gone viral in several dramatic ways. The bruising shark was caught using merely 15 kg rated line, or about 33 pound test.
The monster shark was taken off Swansea, Australia during the Australia Day celebration and was weighed in at Lake Macquarie. It's an old story of the fisherman and the fish- what it took to hook up and what it took to land it. The end result was a tremendous catch of 625.5 kilograms or about 1,379 pounds.
There's another old story here as well: the social media frenzy that the catch stirred up once the Offshore Fishing NSW Facebook page posted the photos.
Once the 'slaughter' of the fishermen began after the pictures were posted, all parties involved became silent. The fisherman who actually made the catch declined to speak to the newspaper about it. He said that any inquiries about the shark should go through his fishing association the Lake Macquarie Fishing Club.
The club secretary would not comment and the club president would not respond to inquiries about the story.
Even local fishermen felt the pressure to remain silent citing concerns about "greenies" and "do-gooders" putting pressure on the government to create even more marine parks and green spaces where they can no longer fish.
The reaction on the Offshore Fishing NSW's Facebook page was as expected: some applauded the possible record catch and many were utterly critical of the killing of the massive tiger shark.
Facebook user Russell Lake said, "Hey guys, been fishing nearly my whole life and catching this huge tiger and killing it is no different than shooting a lion or a Bengal tiger. Why not just tag it and let it go.''
Casey Mullholland posted, "What a shame this beauty couldn't sustain his life and become something bigger to be in awe of. Beautiful fish. Sad death.''
A few came straight to their defense such as Michael Burwell who said in a rather obvious statement, "I often wonder why people who hate fishing and fishermen troll such sites. If it offends you move on or better still embrace diversity, some people believe in different ideals to you. PS top catch well done to all!''
Here's hoping that this trophy will become a new world record and that the controversy will subside long enough for this angler to enjoy it.
All photos via Facebook/Offshore Fishing NSW