Turns out, there’s at least one cannibal great white shark hanging around the East Coast.
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A Virginia Institute of Marine Science longline fishing survey group caught a four-foot shark on June 8 a few miles off Sandbridge in Virginia Beach, according to the research group’s Facebook page.
VIMS researchers were reeling in their 1.2-mile longline that has about 100 baited hooks and is used to study shark populations, when a 13-foot great white decided to make a 4-foot shark on the line its snack.
A Volkswagen Beetle is about the same length as the bigger shark, at roughly 13.5 feet long.
The crew onboard rushed to save the other 40 sharks on their hooks as the great white made a meal of the smaller blacktip shark.
The great white “made a mess” of the researchers’ line and got away before they could get the giant onboard, the group said.
On June 7, VIMS caught an 8.5-foot long great white about 6 miles east of First Landing State Park.
Sharks play a key role in marine ecosystems worldwide, VIMS said in its post.
VIMS began studying mid-Atlantic sharks in 1973 with the VIMS Shark Survey, which now stands as the one of the longest-running fishery-independent studies of shark populations in the world. The longline survey brought global attention to significant declines in shark populations due to overfishing, and led to the first U.S. management plan for sharks in 1993, according to VIMS.
As fishing regulations help shark populations rebound in U.S. waters, data from shark research programs at VIMS continue to inform stock assessments and fishery management plans at federal and state levels, according to VIMS.
VIMS tags and releases the sharks it catches on its lines.