Underwatertimes.com News Service - February 1, 2006 19:36 EST
greenland shark

Diane Guillemette, left, from Sainte-Rose-du Nord, Que., caught this 500-pound Greenland shark

A shark the size of a car has been reeled in by a woman out for a day of ice fishing.

The whopper — a Greenland shark, which isn't dangerous — is so big it had to be pulled from the water with the help of a snowmobile.

Diane Guillemette knew she had a big fish on her line but she wasn't expecting a shark.

''We worked for an hour and a half to get it up to the hole in the ice,'' said Guillemette.

She was fishing on the weekend with her partner in the Saguenay fiord, where waters from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean meet about 250 kilometres north of Quebec City.

''It was about 680 feet down, completely at the bottom,'' she said of the shark. ''So it took 366 turns on a wheel crank to bring it to the surface.''

The Greenland shark weighed 230 kilograms and was more than three metres long.

''I reeled in the line gently because the catch was very heavy.''

At one point, Guillemette thought she had lost her catch but she got help enlarging the ice hole. The giant shark was then landed with the aid of a snowmobile.

The Greenland shark is known as the sleeper shark and lives in polar waters all year round. It isn't considered dangerous to humans.

Sharks are known to make their way into the Saguenay fiord from time to time.

Jean-Denis Lambert, a marine biologist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said three have been caught in the last 11 years.

''It's not something we see often,'' he said.

''It's not too dangerous because actually there's not too many of them, first of all, and it's a species that lives in deep water, cold water, open water.

''It's not a coastal species and in this case it goes up into the fiord of Saguenay because the fiord of Saguenay is very deep and the waters in the basins are very cold.''

The shark is in Guillemette's back yard on the snow, awaiting pick up by a local museum that's still looking for a freezer big enough to store it.