Malta great white shark (1987)

Malta great white shark (1987)

The great white shark specimen caught off Filfla, Malta on April 17, 1987. First two photos from A. De Maddalene’s archive. The third photo by J. Gullaumier.

On April 17, 1987, Alfredo Cutajar caught a big female great white off the coast of Malta that was reportedly measured to be 7.23 meters (23.7 feet) long and weighed 2,880 kg (6,349 lbs).

In the mid-90s, Cutajar and John Abela were interviewed for a documentary “Jaws in the Mediterranean”. This time, Cutajar has claimed that the shark was 7.01 meters (23 feet) and Abela confirmed that. He said that he had accurately measured the shark twice, as it lay on the floor, at 23 feet 5 inches (7.14 meters). In 2001, again, Cutajar said that it was 7.01 meters (23 feet) in length.

Later, based a set of its jaws, Spanish shark researchers Joan Barrull and Isabel Mate estimated that the Malta shark was between 6,68-6.81 meters (21.92-22.34 feet) in length.

There’s been some dispute about the accuracy of these numbers, however, and experts have been arguing over it for years. Shark experts Richard Ellis and John E. McCosker, authors of the book The Great White Shark (1991), have also largely discounted the claim of the Maltese fisherman.

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