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Shark Men: 18-Footer Is Biggest Great White Shark Caught, Released; 'He Was Just A Bad-Ass'

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The crew of National Geographic Channel's hit series Shark Men today announced that they have broken the previous record for capturing the largest great white shark ever caught and released alive. The crew landed a 17-foot, 9-inch-long male great white weighing more than two tons. The shark, named Apache, was caught off the coast of Guadalupe Island while the crew was completing an expedition to capture, tag and release great whites in the area to unravel the mysteries of their life cycle. The dramatic monster shark catch will air on NGC when Shark Men: Biggest and Baddest premieres Sunday, May 8, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

The record-breaking shark, a spotted giant named after ship captain Brett McBride's spotted dog Apache, measured 13 inches longer than their previous record-holding white shark capture — a 16-foot, 8-inch female named Kimel. Apache's weight of approximately 4,225 pounds was determined using a matrix of the shark's measured length and girth.

Apache's enormous stature was surprising to the scientists onboard, who noted that sharks that size are usually female. In fact, this was the largest great white shark the crew has seen in three years of expeditions all over the Pacific, including more than 20 sharks tagged and released.

Also surprising was the fact that Apache had never before been spotted by the cage divers and photographers who frequent Guadalupe Island, a rare hot spot for shark sightings. Somehow, this giant eluded all of those cameras for years!

Explorer and Shark Men expedition leader Chris Fischer acknowledges his crew's new record, but does not lose sight of the work at hand. "I am incredibly proud of my crew for hauling in a record-breaking white shark like Apache," he says. "But I am more proud of the data we have collected from him and other white sharks to help ensure the well-being of this endangered species as a whole."

Great whites are the world's largest predatory fish, reaching more than 20 feet long and weighing up to 7,000 lbs. But for all their size and power, they are in trouble. Their numbers have been decimated by overfishing. The key to protecting the species is protecting the waters where great whites give birth. Nobody knows for certain where this happens, but the Shark Men are on the brink of discovering and helping to protect this vital marine habitat.

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Reader Comments

9 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Why are we still messing with these sharks? If the cure for cancer or Aids was in one of these things I could see a reason, but to just find out where they go and where they breed and for TV?? Let them be. Knowledge we're learning from this is for OUR benefit, not thers. Even people that watch the show dont care about the sexes, sperm, breeding and routes they take...they just want to see them out of the water. Chris Fischer is a kill first fisherman, should we have learned that from all the fish he killed in all the shows he's made years ago? These captures are for stupid reasons. Whats next? Open heart surgery for the Mountan Gorillas so we can see how many times a heart can beat?
   comment# 1   - Tom Moody · Miami, USA · May 6, 2011 @ 10:43pm

I no longer watch/buy Discovery or NatGeo for running this program. There is no scientific value to this whatsoever.
   comment# 2   - Jake · San Francisco, USA · May 9, 2011 @ 11:23am

If the methodology employed was actually as injurious to the White sharks as many allege, the tagged sharks would have, well, croaked by now. Every form of scientific sampling has its own degree of abject intrusiveness. Here, it is the footage of the White sharks- bright and unbound from the ocean that contains them- that is arguably more impressive than the data, e.g., what are the tags going to reveal about the White shark that the TOPP tags haven’t shown? That these sharks are even more nomadic than their highly migratory lives might suggest? For all we know, some of the data from any study might not be in response to the tag itself, i.e., perhaps the White sharks go to very deep depths to rid itself of a “parasite” satellite tag. Just this: given the scarcity of resources in the open ocean, it is unlikely that mature sharks are migrating to the open ocean in search of prey? To me, it seems more plausible that the mature females mate up in Northern CA via the “bite and wait” method and, after gestation, give birth in the open ocean. I submit White sharks give birth in an area of the open ocean after determining its suitability for a month or so, e.g., predator avoidance. Once the White shark mother gives birth, she departs and will not return for two years. That would seemingly explain why mature females would go out to the “White shark cafes”, i.e., to give birth. Other than whale carrion opportunities (i.e., gorging and/or mating), there is no other purpose.
   comment# 3   - drudown · Solana Beach, Ca · May 10, 2011 @ 7:50pm

Ps. I really don't think the White shark's life cycle is as "mysterious" as either the Shark Men/Dr. Domeier or their overly-sensitive detractors would condition the public to believe, as if, in the end, satellite tracking data is going to shed light on some (as yet) "unknown" behavior. What "groundbreaking" discovery has any satellite data shown? That White sharks as far-ranging as Hawaii? It was, to be fair, already known. Assume, arguendo, that satellite data and/or additional study "proves" that White sharks give birth at the "White shark cafes"- do we really really have some novel, "game changing" understanding of what White sharks "really are," what their ecological niche "really is," and/or "why White sharks attack humans"? My point is this: White sharks, like Tiger sharks, occupy a well-established niche of generalist feeder, apex predator. They have nomadic lives and will realize feeding opportunities as the moment presents and their metabolic needs direct. How much of the alleged "mysterious" and "misunderstood" persona of White sharks is, in fact, another pretext to (1) procure more grant money for further study and/or (2) proffer another page in the "White sharks are not the man-eating species you [the public] have been raised to believe"? As Denny Green might say at th
   comment# 4   - drudown · Solana Beach, CA · May 11, 2011 @ 4:07pm

..."they are who we thought they were"
   comment# 5   - drudown · Solana Beach, CA · May 14, 2011 @ 2:49am

The sharks are have more to fear of us then we of them. What beautiful graceful swimmers they are and when they are gone what then? Everthing has it's place in the Plan of Jehovah God.
   comment# 6   - · roseburg oregon · Sep 6, 2011 @ 9:29pm

Why would it be so terrible if these things no longer existed?
   comment# 7   - Steve · Tampa, United States · Apr 23, 2012 @ 10:13pm

As of July 2012, Shark scientists & researchers now have determined that the number of Great whites are more than twice the amount if not more than previously thought. Granted I still think Great Whites need to be a protected species, but think about this: They recently disvovered a new species of deer in the Himalayas. A new species of ape that is numbered in the hundreds was just discovered in Borneo. The land mass is 30% compared to 70% water. There is no way scientists can determine the amount of sharks or any type fish for that matter scince almost 80% if not more of the oceans have even been explored. Plain & simple..PERIOD !!!
   comment# 8   - Mark Humphreys · Indio, Ca · Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:26pm

I believe it is a good thing to start focusing more research attention on the oceans and it's inhabitants. Our species may eventually have to consider colonizing it one day. Some scientists believe the only hope for future generations is going to be space colonization but really folks... shouldn't we first learn how to exist on our own planet, in it's varied environments? Understanding the habits and behaviors of the oceans apex predator will go a long way toward our being able to coexist in their environment if it ever comes to that. Until that time comes, people should get it through their head that entering a sharks home for whatever reason is going to make you a potential meal for them. The only guarantee of not being attacked we have is if we stay out of the water! Humans will never change the primal nature of a predator. We are defenseless against them physically. We can however out smart them by avoiding the places they live. Tracking individual sharks can give valuable info regarding migration and hunting grounds but only for that specific shark. They are nomadic and often, solitary hunters so it is not unreasonable to think every shark claims a specific area as it's personal territory. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that sharks constantly patrol their territory much like terrestrial predators do. They serve a purpose in the ocean and are harmless to us when we stay out of their path!
   comment# 9   - Rebeccah · Redding, Ca · Oct 1, 2012 @ 6:12pm
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