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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.

For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/sharkmen.

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