The uncommon discovery of a peculiar-looking shark is the first sighting of the second largest living fish in Australian waters for 85 years. James Owen and his crew accidentally caught the 6.3-metre basking shark in their trawler at Portland, west of Warrnambool, in Victoria on Sunday but instead of selling the sought-after Chinese delicacy, they decided to donate the rare three-tonne male fish to science. Only smaller than the whale shark, the mammoth fish has an unusual pink/purple hue to its skin and a huge flat nose. The last recording of this species being captured was in the 1930s by a skipper at Lakes Entrance in eastern Victoria.
Dr Martin Gomon praised the fisherman for contacting the Melbourne Museum saying he had great respect for him ‘Basking shark fins would be highly sought because they’re very big,’ Dr Gomon told News Corp. ‘This basking shark’s pectoral fins were probably over a metre in length and 60cm or more wide, and there were two of those. Its cuttle fin probably spans 1 metre to 1.2 metres. There are other fins, too: the pelvic fins.’ Dr Gomon said, along with another scientist, he had to use a crane to lift the mammoth fish out of the boat and then it took an astounding five hours to cut the shark into pieces so they were manageable to be carried.