When Geoff Brooks from Byron Bay, on the New South Wales far north coast, posted these photos of a massive shark on his Facebook page yesterday afternoon, saying it was caught not far off the coast on the weekend, the internet went into one of its frequent shark-related frenzies.
Not only is the Tiger shark the very definition of the phrase "you're gonna need a bigger boat," but it was allegedly caught with a hammerhead shark inside it.
Needless to say, this tale is fishy, and a number of key details are unconfirmed.
Here's the back story: Byron Bay is a popular tourism and surfing destination that has been the site of a number of recent shark attacks.
A fortnight ago, surfer Craig Ison was attacked early in the morning at Evans Head, south of Byron, and nearly died from a loss of blood after being bitten on the legs and arms by a great white. One of the shark’s teeth was embedded in his leg.
At the start of July, there were two attacks in 24 hours, leading to a major surfing competition being postponed, and in February, a Japanese man died after being attacked off Ballina, just 24 hours after another surfer was bitten at Lennox Head.
The Facebook post said the shark had been handed over to the CSIRO, but the science organisation told Business Insider that it didn’t have the shark and doesn’t know where the picture was taken or by whom. They confirmed it was a tiger shark, however.
A local newspaper, The Northern Star, spoke to a Tweed Coast fisherman, known only as "Matthew," who claims to have caught the shark about 20km off the Queensland/NSW border about three weeks ago.
He told the paper he was fighting a hammerhead shark at the time and the four-metre shark came up and swallowed it. Matthew said the shark he landed was “a little one”.
“I’ve seen tiger sharks 24 feet-long off Tweed,” Matthew said, adding that the number of sharks in the area was increasing.
He said the shark went to the fish markets, but the jaws were kept as a souvenir.
The boat Matthew works on is a commercial shark fishing boat.