Fishermen on a boat off the coast of Massachusetts were utterly panicked when a giant shark jumped right onto their boat.
Video shows the men trying to get away from the Atlantic shortfin mako, also known as the fastest shark in the world, and yelling in shock as the shark flailed around on deck.
The viral video was posted on Instagram with the caption: “Pucker factor is at an all time high. This mako went full air assault mode. It’s super rare for a mako to jump into a boat as it is but to also get it on camera. Unheard of.” Here’s what happened.
The fishermen had caught one shark on a line and were distracted when all of a sudden another one jumped onto the boat, crashing into one of the anglers who was trapped due to a safety belt. Another angler had his foot caught under the shark and twisted himself free before escaping up a ladder. The men can be heard swearing and shouting in complete panic as the giant shark thrashed around on the floor.
Nobody on board the boat was hurt, and it’s unclear how they got the shark back into the water again (mako sharks are a protected species and by law must be thrown back into the ocean if caught). “As of July 5, 2022, U.S. fishermen may not land or retain Atlantic shortfin mako sharks,” says NOAA Fisheries. “The shortfin mako shark retention limit is zero in commercial and recreational Atlantic highly migratory species fisheries.”
Mako were seen as guardian spirits by the indigenous peoples of New Zealand—the name “mako” comes from the Māori word for “shark.” Mako sharks are incredibly fast, and they can swim up to an astonishing 80 miles per hour. If that doesn’t make them intimidating enough, this shark can grow up to 13 feet long and tips the scales at 1,200 pounds. Also (surprise surprise) mako are known for their exceptional jumping skills.
Mako sharks are aggressive predators and most dangerous to humans when they are hooked by fisherman and hauled onto fishing boats. They signal an attack by swimming towards prey in a figure-of-eight motion with their mouths open, and with over 3000 lbs of pressure in their bite, this is a shark you really don’t want to mess with. Having said that—mako sharks are aware that humans are not prey and can even be friendly to deep sea divers (again, not recommended).
Mako sharks are officially on the endangered species list, making it illegal to kill them. “North Atlantic shortfin mako depletion is among the world’s most pressing shark conservation crises, and the US is critical to achieving the multilateral ban needed to stem the decline,” Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International, said in 2021.
“While in recent years the US has been an obstacle to international Atlantic mako protections, the Biden Administration’s commitment to science and today’s filing – which highlights makos’ exceptional susceptibility to overfishing — give us hope that the government will change course and heed scientific advice in time to help save the beleaguered North Atlantic population from collapse.”