The Megamouth Shark

Megachasma pelagios

The First
Megamouth Shark,                                 (Megachasma pelagios)

 

Discovered approx. 25 miles off the coast Oahu, Hawaii 

 

On Nov. 15th. 1976

Mission:

A U.S. Navy Ship has orders to search and recover lost “Dummy” Torpedoes.

Result:

The most exciting Shark discovery

As the Chute like drift anchor was being towed, suddenly something huge caused it to drag down. On reeling it up back to the ship, the crew are amazed to find a huge fish, entangled in a deep-water net.

With a mouth measuring 1 metre wide at the tip of a 4.5 metres long brownish coloured flabby body, it was soon realized that nobody had ever seen this species before!!

It took about 7 years before this species was identified and named as Megachasma pelagios, or as it is better known,
The Megamouth Shark

Eight years after the original discovery, a second Male specimen was brought up dead, in a fishing net off the coast of California.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN FOUND SINCE THEN?

Some Statistics first

Locations

Taiwan
Philippines
Japan
Usa
Ecuador
Mexico
Indonesia
Brazil
Peru
China
Australia
South Africa
Senegal
Indian Ocean

Sri Lanka
Vietnam

Puerto Rico

Liberia

151
27
23
7
4
4
3
3
3
3
1
1
1
1
1
1

1
1

Sex

Male
Female
Unknown

87
127
22

Condition

Alive
Dead

19
217

Sizes

Largest confirmed


Largest unconfirmed


Smallest confirmed

710cm


800 – 900cm


177cm

And now the detail

Please note that as much as I try to keep this list up to date, I cannot guarantee that it is exact. Many catches are not being reported or data not being shared.

236 Megamouth sharks are being listed here.

No

Date

Location

Sex

Size

Photo

Remarks

1

15 Nov 76

Oahu, Hawaii

M

446cm

On display at Bernice P. Bishop Museum Honolulu, Hawaii

2

29 Nov 84

Catalina Island, California, USA

M

449cm

On display at Los Angeles County Museum

3

18 Aug 88

Mandurah, Australia

M

515cm

On display at Western Australia Museum

4

23 Jan 89

Hamamatsu City, Japan

M

400+cm

Caught and killed

5

Jun 89

Suruga Bay, Japan

F?

490cm

Released Alive

6

21 Oct 90

Dana Point, California, USA

F

494cm

7

29 Nov 94

Hakata Bay, Japan

F

471cm

On display at Marine World Fukuoka, Japan Scientific paper

8

4 May 95

Dakar, Senegal

M

180cm

Discarded

9

18 Sept 95

Southern Brazil

M

190cm

On display at Instituto de Pesca, São Paulo, Brazil

10

30 Apr 97

Owase City, Mikisaki, Mie Japan

F

544cm

Preserved at Toba Aquarium

11

20 Feb 98

Cagayan de Oro, Macajalar Bay, Philippines

M

549cm

Consumed Scientific Paper

12

23 Apr 98

Mihama-cho, Atawa, Mie, Japan

F

549cm

Discarded

13

30 Aug 98

Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

F

ca. 500cm

Sighted being attacked by Orcas and swam Away

14

1 Oct 99

W of San Diego, California, USA

F

518cm

Released Alive

15

19 Oct 01

NW of San Diego, California, USA

M

548cm

Released Alive

16

18 Jan 02

East Indian Ocean

M

235cm

Tuna purse seine, discarded Dead

17

20 Apr 02

Natures Valley, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

F

350cm

Washed Ashore Dead. On display at Port Elisabeth Museum, South Africa.

18

6 Jan 03

Cagayan de Oro, Macajalar Bay, Philippines

F

497cm

Consumed

19

26 May 03

Dana Point, California, USA

?

610 - 760cm

Sighting

20

3 Jul 03

Hualien Province Taiwan

M

ca 250cm

Consumed

21

7 Aug 03

Omaezaki, Sizuoka Japan

M

430cm

22

8 Mar 04

85.37 km from the port of Posorja (province of Guayas) (02°54.374’s; 81°14.858’w Ecuador

M

420cm

Caught in a gillnet and Consumed

23

13 Mar 04

Gapang Beach, Sumatra, Indonesia.

M

177cm

Washed Ashore Dead. On display at LIPI Museum, Chibinong, Jakarta. Scientific Paper

24

19 Apr 04

Tokyo Bay, Ichihara City, Japan

F

563cm

Washed Ashore Dead Kept on display.

25

23 Apr 04

Ajiro, Shizuoka, Japan

F

ca. 490cm

Discarded

26

04 Nov 04

Namocon Beach, Tigbauan, Iloilo Philippines

F

504cm

Stranded on beach and Died later. Now at SEAFDEC Museum.

27

23 Jan 05

Kisei cho Nishiki, Mie, Japan

F

528cm

Captured with a purse seine

28

30 Jan 05

Barangay Agusan, Macajalar Bay Cagayan de Oro, Phillippines

F

417cm

Died after being captured in net.

29

25 Apr 05

Hualien, Eastern Taiwan

?

?

First of 4 specimens caught within 10 days in the same region. 580 kilos was consumed

30

2 May 05

Hualien, Eastern Taiwan

?

?

Second of 4. 680 kilos was consumed.

31

4 May 05

Hualien, Eastern Taiwan

F

709cm

Third of 4. Dead. Weight 689 kilos. Believed to be pregnant. Taken to Taipei Zoo/Academia Sinica.

32

5 May 05

Hualien, Eastern Taiwan

F

483cm

Fourth of 4. Dead. weight 807 kilos. Believed to to be pregnant. Taken to Taipei Zoo/Academia Sinica.

33

5 Jun 05

Hualien, Eastern Taiwan

M

350/ 400cm

Another Megamouth was caught from the same location. 400-500 kg

34

26 Jan 06

Bayawan City, Central Visayas, Philippines island of Negros

F

500cm

Accidental capture by fishermen. Died before it could be set free.

35

12 Mar 06

Barra, Macajalar Bay Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

F

226cm

Was dead when it reached the shore after being entangled by a fisherman's gill net.

36

23 Mar 06

China Sea

?

470cm

Caught and killed.

38

16 Nov 06

Tortugas Bay, West Coast of Baja California, Mexico

F

226.5cm

Caught in a gill net. Was later donated to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO), La Jolla, California, USA

39

30 May 07

Barangay Tungkob, Minglanilla town, Cebu, Philippines

?

249cm

Shark found alive with hole in the head. Died later.

41

9 Jul 07

Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

F

370cm

Shark was caught in a net and died. It was kept frozen untill it went on display Churaumi Aquarium in 2011.

42

23 Sep 07

Baja California, México

?

?

Sighted between Cedros Island and San Benito Islands.

43

27 Sep 07

Hinunangan, So Lyete, Philippines

?

274cm

Found Dead Stranded On Beach.

44

30 Jun 08

Taiwan

M

?

Caught and killed.

45

10 Jul 08

Taiwan

M

500/550cm

Caught and killed.

46

5 Sep 08

Hinunangan, So Lyete, Philippines

?

213cm

Found Stranded On Beach and was pushed back into the sea.

47

30 Mar 09

Eastern Coast of Burioas Isle, Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines

M

400cm

Died when caught in a gill net. Gordon Hubbell has Jaws

48

8 Jun 09

Taitung, Chenggong, Taiwan

F

390cm

Was sold for NT$18,000 (US$549) to a local shark museum where it will be displayed as a preserved specimen.

49

9 Jul 09

Praia Grande, Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro Brazil

M

539cm

According to LIMA,M.L.; RENNÓ,B. & SICILIANO,S. 2009. Gigante dos mares em areias fluminenses. Ciencia Hoje, Vol. 44, Setembro, 56-57. Part of the specimen was consumed by the locals.

50

6 Nov 09

Tortugas Bay, West Coast of Baja California, Mexico

M

180cm

Caught in a net and killed by the same boat that caught Megamouth 38 on 16th. Nov 06

51

25 Apr 10

Off South East China

M

approx 400cm

Caught and Killed. Only skin and jaws left.

52

19 Jun 10

Eastern Taiwan

?

700cm

Caught and Killed. Only jaws left.

53

2010

Pamilacan Island, Bohol, Philippines

?

?

Caught and Killed. Only jaws left.

54

14 Jan 11

Owase, Mie Pref. Japan

F

approx 500cm

Was trapped in nets. Filmed and later killed.

55

24 Jun 11

Shizuoka pref, Japan

F

540cm

Caught in a set net. Since March 2012 the specimen has been exhibited at the Main Rest House, Churaumi Plaza. Scientific Paper

56

1 Jul 11

West Sagami Bay Kanagawa Pref Japan

F

370cm

57

30 Nov 11

50km off port of Santa Rosa de Salinas Santa Elena province, Ecuador

F

243cm

he f/v “María josé ii” caught specimen in a gillnet at 2°7.902’ s, 81°23.883’ w,

58

Jan 12

East Sea of China

F

approx 570cm

Caught and Killed

59

5 Jul 12

Negombo fisheries harbour, Sri Lanka

?

?

Caught and Killed

60

30 Mar 12

Cope or Montañita Seamount” 1°49.936’ s, 81°3.584’ w, (currently declared as) “Bajo Cope” Marine Reserve province of Santa Elena Ecuador

M

?

The specimen was sliced and sold on the local fish market Caraguay in Guayaquil

61

16 Oct 12

Eastern Taiwan

F

429 - 640cm

Caught and killed. Tail broke off when it was being hauled into the harbour. The organs were preserved and donated to a university and the flesh was sold.

62

Jan 13

Sagami Bay, Shizuoka, Japan

F

487cm

Filmed and Released for Discovery Shark Week 2013 - Alien Sharks

63

18 Apr 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

387cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

64

28 Apr 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

250cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

65

30 Apr 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

320cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

66

5 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

500cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

67

6 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

477cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

68

6 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

377cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

69

7 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

385cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

70

8 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

413cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

71

16 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

545cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

72

18 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

552cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

73

18 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

524cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

74

19 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

509cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

75

19 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

395cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

76

21 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

363cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

77

23 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

435cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

78

30 May 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

426cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

79

10 Jun 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

400cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

80

10 Jun 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

398cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

81

10 Jul 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

463cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

82

10 Jul 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

484cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

83

10 Jul 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

380cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

84

17 Jul 13

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

631cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

85

6 Sep 13

Manazuru, Japan

F

577cm

Caught and killed.

86

1 Feb 14

Santa Rosa de Salinas Santa Elena province, Ecuador

M

800-900 cm

the f/v “SIEMPRE CHEO” had the fins of a megamouth shark. The specimen on record was a male about 8-9 m in total length, according to fishermen (about the same size as the boat).

87

14 Mar 14

Sabang West, Philippines

F

88

14 Apr 14

Yui, Shizuoka pref. Japan

F

440cm

89

5 May 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

341cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

90

22 May 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

352cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

91

30 May 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

660cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

92

31 May 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

478cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

93

31 May 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

377cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

94

2 Jun 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

370cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

95

2 Jun 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

517cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

96

4 Jun 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

390cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

97

8 Jun 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

370cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

98

23 Jun 14

Barangay 2, Pobalcion, Tubay, Agusan Del Norte Philippines

?

?

Caught and released alive.

100

3 Aug 14

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

366cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

101

28 Jan 15

Pio Duran, Albay, Bicol Region, Luzon, Philippines

M

460cm

Conflicting reports say that the shark was found floating near Catundulan Point and was brought to shore OR caught in a fishing net and brought to shore. The shark was captured by 39-year-old Edgar Chavez – a fisherman from Barangay Marigondon in Pioduran, Albay – and his companions. The body was preserved and is displayed at the Albay Parks and Wildlife for scientific study

102

21 Mar 15

Barangay Bayabas, Cagayan de Oro City Philippines

F

approx 365cm

103

14 May 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

502cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

104

15 May 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

307cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

105

31 May 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

540cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

106

2 Jun 15

Nghe An Provance, Vietnam

?

approx 500cm

107

5 Jun 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

386cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

108

8 Jun 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

456cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

109

10 Jun 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

535cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

110

16 Jun 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

521cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

111

24 Jun 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

440cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

112

23 Jul 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

290cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

113

27 Jul 15

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

247cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

114

Nov 15

Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, Philippines

F

247cm

Caught with net by fisherman, butchered and eaten by locals.

115

24 Dec 15

Banderas Bay Beach, State of Nayarit, Mexico

?

530cm

The shark was stranded onshore. The body could not be recovered.

116

15 Apr 16

Owase City, Mie, Japan

F

approx 500cm

117

10 Dec 16

Mojacasabe Beach, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

F

457cm

Found Stranded on the beach. Scientific Paper

118

1 May 17

Barangay Baluarte, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental Philippines

?

approx 300cm

Washed ashore dead. Was buried.

119

12 May 17

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

440cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

120

16 May 17

Hualien County, Taiwan

M

484cm

Caught and sold to a fish restaurant.

121

21 May 17

Hualien County, Taiwan

F

480cm

Caught in a drift net. Dead

Megamouth #23
The Smallest found so far.

Close Up of Megamouth
(click to enlarge)

This Specimen washed up on the Gapang beach, Sumatra, right in front of Ton Egbers house.

Ton writes: I think there can be no doubt anymore that the shark specimen that washed ashore here today on Gapang Beach, less than 30 meters away from our doorstep, literally, is the rare shark species Megachasma pelagios.

The shark must have died only somewhat earlier, as it wasn’t even smelly at all. Total length is 177 cm, standard length (precaudal) 115 and caudal length 62. Pectorals are 33.

Megamouth Shark # 23
Megamouth Shark # 23
Megamouth Shark # 23 total length 177cm
Megamouth Shark # 23
Megamouth Shark # 23
inside Megamouth
Megamouth Shark # 23
Megamouth being taken for preservation
Megamouth being cleaned.
Compct size
Wrapped Air tight in plastic.
Megamouth being sealed up
Megamouth  ready for the freezer.

(click small images to enlarge)

Sharkman Comments:

Megamouth 23 (nicknamed MEMO Jr.) is now having a series of tests done at the LIPI in Jakarta.

Sharkman’s World will be keeping you informed of the developments in this story.

I would like to thank Ton for passing on the Info and for allowing me to use his photos.

Ton’s homepage is
LUMBA LUMBA DIVING CENTRE

Comments are closed.