What’s a hammerhead worth?
FOR weeks there has been speculation the five-metre hammerhead shark which was caught off Evans Head last month was sold to a museum for $13,000.
But those rumours have been dismissed by the man who now has the shark in his possession.
World-renowned shark expert Vic Hislop yesterday confirmed he returned to Evans Head over the weekend to pick up the 1200kg monster.
But he would not say whether the hammerhead would feature in his Hervey Bay-based shark show.
“I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do with it,” he told The Northern Star yesterday.
“I’m going to keep it frozen for now.
“I’m about to go to the Northern Territory to look for tiger sharks, so I’ll think about it when I get back.”
The hammerhead was caught by the crew of the shark fishing vessel Santrina four nautical miles off the coast of Evans Head.
Mr Hislop denied that he paid the crew $13,000 for the hammerhead.
“What’s a shark worth? Maybe $10 or $100? You can’t eat it, because it’s full of mercury,” he said.
“So there’s really not a lot the crew could have done with it.
“They happened to catch this one, so they gave it to me so I could use it for research purposes.”
Although the massive hammerhead received plenty of attention when it featured on the front page of The Northern Star on March 25, Mr Hislop said the size was not unusual.
“I’ve caught them that big before,” he said.
PhD student Adrian Gutteridge had hoped to get a tissue sample from the hammerhead for his research project.
“This was a giant hammerhead,” he said.
“We’ve got four species of hammerheads in Australia, and this is definitely the biggest. They probably get to about six metres.
“I have a friend who had one that was 4.4 metres and he estimated it was 30 to 35 years old.
“So this one, at five metres, would probably be about 40 or 45 years old.
“No one really knows how long they live for – it could be 50 or 60 years as a ballpark.
“The species is endangered worldwide, but the population is unknown in Australia.
“We are currently trying to work out their population on the east coast.
“There’s been no attempt to track these sharks anywhere in the world.
“So at the moment I have some funding to do a bit of research – we put receivers on their fins.
“People are saying that there are more big sharks closer to the coast than ever before, so we want to see if we can prove that.”