The amazing video of Deep Blue, the massive Great White shark filmed off Mexico’s Baja California western coast, went viral — and rightfully so. Watching the huge shark slide past the camera as if George Lucas was capturing a smoother, more streamlined star destroyer is somewhat breathtaking in itself. The Great White shark is being touted as “the biggest shark ever caught on camera” and that appears to be true. But if that statement is qualified with “alive,” does it still ring true?
National Geographic reported August 14 that biologist Mauricio Hoyos Padilla of the conservation group Pelagios Kakunja made the claim when he posted a video to Facebook. The size of the biggest Great White shark ever filmed? Approximately 20 feet (6 meters). And Deep Blue is female.
That is, of course, an estimation. Getting Deep Blue to stop for a measurement would be a bit difficult. (Still, don’t they have software that can accurately measure things, given something from which to project a scale?) Even so, according to the California Department of Fish and Game, Great White sharks can grow up to 21 feet (6 meters) long.
Most Great Whites average between 12 to 14 feet (3.6 to 4 meters) long, shark biologist Christopher Lowe at California State University in Long Beach, told National Geographic. A 17.9-foot-long (5.5-meter-long) male Great White was caught off Guadalupe in fall 2009, which was chronicled on the National Geographic Channel series “Shark Men.”
Deep Blue is “clearly a very large shark,” Lowe admitted. He also pointed out that the shark did not have the usual torpedo shape of most sharks. “She’s pretty rotund,” he added. “Just by the looks of her, I’d say that she’s pregnant.”
In the Facebook video “Deep Blue (The biggest shark ever filmed) second part,” which has been viewed over 5.7 million times to date, the shark takes up much of the camera as she moves vertically up the side of the shark cage. She easily dwarfs the men in scuba gear. Her size seems to present some mobility problems as well, because it takes her some time to make a turn and come back to explore the shark cage.
She’s also an estimated 50 years old. A 50-year-old pregnant shark? Apparently so…
But caught on camera and “caught” by a fisherman are two different things. Great White sharks have long been a prized game fish. The world record, according to FieldandStream.com, is currently held by Alfred Dean, who caught a monster Great White off the Australian coast in 1959 that weighed 2,664 lb. (1,208.38 kg.). A photo of Dean’s record catch can be seen at TotalProSports.com. Even at a glance, it can easily be seen that Deep Blue is the larger shark — and longer.
In fact, a photo of”The Cuban” Great White, also on TotalProSports.com, shows a behemoth that looks as if it is as large as Dean’s catch, if not somewhat larger. However, with no official weight, it is difficult to tell with just a photo. But all those people arrayed around the landed shark certainly gives that particular specimen a height and girth Dean’s seems to be missing. According to DeepSea, that shark was 21.3 feet (6.4 meters) long.
Is Deep Blue bigger than The Cuban? Perhaps. It certainly looks like she could be, after viewing the video. And maybe seeing a predator of such enormous proportions gliding along so near a few tiny humans adds to its already impressive dimensions.