A trawler has hauled in a 1,760-pound (800 kilograms) goblin shark off the northeast coast of Taiwan that was pregnant with six pups. The fisherman who pulled in the largest goblin shark ever caught in those waters, originally planned to sell it to a restaurant, according to the Taiwan Ocean Artistic Museum, where the specimen is now being housed.
“On June 13, in Yilan, a fishing port in Nanfangao, a rare prehistoric deep-sea shark ‘Goblin shark’ (Mitsukurina owstoni) was caught, and it weighed 800 kilograms [1,763 pounds]. It is currently the largest ‘Goblin shark’ caught in Taiwan,” the Taiwan Ocean Artistic Museum write in a translated Facebook post.
In another post, the museum showed the six pups that were recovered from within the mother. Each juvenile was around 4 feet long, weighing roughly 8 pounds. “Each baby shark has a nutrient capsule in its belly, It is indeed grown by the nutrient sac,” the museum wrote.
“The baby shark’s teeth are already formed. So, basically, this mother shark should not be too far from her due date,” the museum added.
Goblin sharks are rarely seen and little is known about them – only a handful of animals have been captured and brought to the surface, and none of them have survived for more than a few days in captivity.
The few interactions that have been recorded between goblin sharks and humans have been largely uneventful. In some cases, goblin sharks have been caught in fishing nets. Researchers are eager to learn more about the mysterious creatures, and they hope that future studies will shed light on their behavior and ecology.
Researchers believe that the Northwest Pacific, including waters off Japan and Taiwan, is a preferred territory for the deep ocean-dwelling species. Following an earthquake off northern Taiwan in 2003, over 100 goblin sharks were caught at depths of around 2,000 feet.