Fishermen reel in 'rare' 10-foot shark off Florida coast

A group of tourists from Illinois wrestled with a 10-foot shortfin mako shark for more than an hour before dragging the creature onto their boat. Wes Jacobs, his father-in-law and a friend made the catch while fishing with Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions off the coast of Florida near Destin.

“It was an hour and a half fight,” owner of Family Land Based Shark Fishing, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Northwest Florida Daily News. “It’s kind of a rare catch from the beach.”

Jacobs chose to harvest the mako rather than catching and releasing or tagging the creature, which is the typical route the charter fishing company takes.

“If you’re going to harvest a shark, then that’s the one to harvest,” the owner explained to the local newspaper. “We only harvest about once every two years. We usually tag and release for migratory studies.”

The group posted a photo of the men posing with their unique find on Facebook Saturday, which then got picked up by several local media outlets.

Some praised the catch, congratulating the men on their find.

"Mmm shark fillets," one Facebook user wrote.

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"That's some good eating there," another added.

Others, however, asked why people would want to kill a creature that's dubbed "rare."

"If its rare, shouldn't they be getting into trouble?" one person asked.

“If you’re going to harvest a shark, then that’s the one to harvest."

- Owner, Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions

"Why kill the animal?" another echoed.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), fishermen are legally allowed to catch one shortfin mako shark per trip as long as they have the proper permits and the shark's the proper size — 54 inches or greater. The shark has to be an adult, proving that it has contributed to the shortfin mako shark population.

However, the NOAA strongly urges fishermen to think twice before harvesting.

"We encourage, through the NOAA Fisheries Shortfin Mako Live Release Website, commercial and recreational fishermen to release shortfin mako sharks that come to the vessel alive in order to decrease fishing mortality and maintain the healthy shortfin mako shark population," the NOAA states on its website. "Similarly, we encourage recreational fishermen to practice the live release of sharks and releasing sharks where the angler may not be sure of the species identification."

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The group didn't specify how much the shark weighed, but it likely didn't compare to the state's record: a 911 lb, 12 oz mako, caught near Palm Beach, which the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lists on its website.

The Discovery Channel says the shortfin mako shark is the "fastest shark in the ocean," shooting to speeds of up to 60 mph. Its speed and large size, some weighing up to 1,000 pounds and measuring 12 feet, makes it a popular fishing catch, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Family Land Based Shark Fishing and Tagging Excursions declined Fox News' request for further comment Monday.