An enormous hammerhead shark washed ashore on Pompano Beach, Southeast Florida, earlier in the month.
The deceased 11-foot, 500-pound pregnant female hammerhead was found by beach-goers, according to the New York Post. “This is a pretty rare event,” founder of American Shark Conservancy Hannah Medd told CNN. The shark was found with a “specific type of hook” in its mouth that indicated “someone was fishing for a large animal like a hammerhead,” Medd continued, despite hammerheads being a protected species and critically endangered, CNN reported.
A video of the shark was captured by WPLG Local 10 news, showing the sheer scale of the hammerhead. (RELATED: Woman Cut In Two In Easter Sunday Hit-And-Run)
It was suggested that the shark may have been caught by and released by a fisherman and subsequently gone into shock and washed ashore, the NY Post continued. “This species, in particular, is quite susceptible to stress,” Medd noted.
A small community of fishermen are said to target sharks in catch-and-release fishing practices, which is legal in Florida, but the stress and violence of this practice can still lead to death, CNN continued. However, Medd noted that her group gets “maybe one to four” calls a year for hammerheads “that have washed back up.”
“These sharks are really good at fighting. That’s why anglers like to catch them; it’s exciting,” Medd stated. Her team is advocating for better catch-and-release practices that limit the amount of time sharks have to fight to escape, CNN reported.