“The 14 Largest Great White Sharks Ever Recorded”

How big can a great white be?

The great white shark (scientific name: Carcharodon carcharias) is not the biggest shark (that title goes to the whale shark), but they are the largest predatory fish in the world

How big can a Great White Shark get?

It is really difficult to measure how large a shark – or any other fish actually is

Safety is one thing, the other thing is their incredible speed: great white sharks can accelerate to over 56 km/h (35 mph)

According to the Guinness World Records Book, full-grown adults are on average 43-46 meters (14-15 feet) in length, and generally, weigh 520-770 kg (1,150-1,700 lb)

But there are many (unconfirmed) claims of huge specimens up to 10 meters (33 feet) in length

Overall, the great white shark is the fifth largest living fish on earth

The great white shark, also known as simply the “great white”, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a species of large lamniform shark that can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans

It is the biggest shark and the largest predatory fish in the world

Naturally, newspapers and home photo albums are full of unconfirmed huge great white tales

And although few have been properly authenticated, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the largest great white sharks grow to more than 6 meters (20 feet) in length

Historically, a number of very large great white shark specimens have been recorded

For decades, many sources including the Guinness Book of World Records listed two great white sharks as the largest individuals: according to these sources, in the 1870s, a 109 meters (36 feet) great white was captured in southern Australian waters, near Port Fairy, and an 113 meters (37 feet) shark was trapped in a herring weir in New Brunswick, Canada, in the 1930s

Some researchers (understandably) question these measurements’ reliability, noting they were much larger than any other accurately reported sighting

This New Brunswick shark may have been a misidentified basking shark, according to these researchers, as the two have similar body shapes

The basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) is the second-largest living fish, after the whale shark, and one of three plankton-eating sharks besides the whale shark and megamouth shark

Related: Largest fish species in the world

E Randall examined the shark’s jaws and “found that the Port Fairy shark was of the order of 5 m (17 ft) in length and suggested that a mistake had been made in the original record, in 1870, of the shark’s length”

Top 14 Largest great white sharks ever recorded

Top 14 Largest great white sharks ever recorded

Top 14 Largest great white sharks ever recorded

1 The Cuba Shark (1945) [Claimed length: 64 meters/21 feet]

The great white shark caught off Cuba in 1945

A very large great white shark was caught off the coast of Cuba in 1945

Known as the “Cojimar Specimen”, it allegedly weighed 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) and was 21 feet (64 meters) in length

Most sources cite this shark as the largest great white shark ever recorded

Aidan Martin of the ReefQuest Center for Shark Research, suggests the shark fell short of its stated size

Martin instead concluded it measured around 16 feet (49 meters) in length, with a weight that’s hard to determine just based on a single photo

2 Malindi, Kenya shark (1996) [Claimed length: 64 meters/21 feet]

On July 16, 1996, a huge pregnant female white shark was caught by local fishermen in Malindi, Kenya

It was estimated at 64 meters/21 feet in length, but, before its length was verified by any authority, it was cut into pieces

But, later, based on a section of five vertebrae from this shark, scientists suggested [Cliff et al, 2000] the shark was actually closer to just 57 meters (187 feet)

3 Ledge Point Shark (1987) [594 meters/19 feet 6 inches]

According to the American ichthyologist and a leading authority on coral reef fishes, also a shark expert John Ernest Randall (May 22, 1924 – April 26, 2020), the largest reliably measured and verified great white shark was 5944 cm (19 feet 6 inches) in length

It was a female and caught off near Ledge Point, Western Australia in 1987

Its estimated weight was 2 tons

4 Sandun (China) shark (2008) [61 meters/20 feet]

On March 15, 2008, in Sandun, China, Fishermen captured an oversized great white shark allegedly measuring an estimated 10 meters (33 feet)!

A 10-meter share should be at least 95 tons

Scientists conclude that based on its weight, the shark was most likely around 6-61 meters in length

5 Canada Shark (1983) [61 meters/20 feet]

Canada great white shark (1983), the world’s largest accurately measured great white shark ever

According to the Canadian Shark Research Center, the world’s largest accurately measured great white was 20 feet (61 meters) in length

This was a female caught in 1983 near Canada’s Prince Edward Island

The shark became tangled in McKendrick’s net as he fished off the western side of the island, and died before it was brought to the surface

A large female, the shark was a rarity in the northern seas

Unfortunately, before further measurements could be taken, the remains of the shark were taken away and buried by the officials of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (a federal institution that is responsible for safeguarding and managing Canada’s seas, fisheries, and ocean resources)

6 Deep Blue, the largest great white shark ever caught on camera [61 meters/20 feet]

The shark is thought to be around 50 years old and estimated at 20 feet (61 meters)

Great whites can live to around 70 years old in the wild

But today, sharks aren’t living nearly as long as they used to – and in turn, not growing as large as they once did

7 Mallorca shark (1969) [62 meters/20 feet 4 inches]

In February 1969, a large female great white shark was caught off Mallorca, Spain

It was initially reported ad 8 meters (26 feet 3 inches)!

But, an examination of a surviving photograph of this specimen revealed that it more likely measured between 62 – 64 meters (20 feet 4 inches to 21 feet)

Related: 10 amazing great white shark facts

8 Ganzirri, Sicily shark (1961) [Claimed length: 64 meters/21 feet]

The only photo of the 1961 Sicily shark, was taken by the local fisherman Domenico Sorrenti

Based on this photo, scientists estimated its length between 645 meters and 666 meters (212 feet to 219 feet)

On June 19, 1961, a large female white shark was harpooned by a fisherman named Domenico Sorrenti, off Ganzirri, Sicily, Italy

Its length was estimated at 64 meters/21 feet

The shark wasn’t properly measured and all that remains today is a single photograph, taken by Sorrenti himself

Based on this photograph, scientists estimated its length between 645 meters and 666 meters (212 feet to 219 feet) [see sources 1]

So the shark’s length estimated by Sorrenti was most likely accurate

But, the estimated weight of 1,500 kg was far too low for a shark of this size – it should be at least 2 tons

9 The great white shark caught by Vic Hislop in 1985 [Claimed length: 66 meters/21 feet 8 inches]

A huge 21′ 8″ (66 meter) great white shark was caught by the Australian shark hunter Vic Hislop in 1985

This may be the biggest white shark ever caught

Hislop also believes there are many even bigger sharks out there in our oceans

He also claims to have caught a bigger one than the one pictured, but couldn’t land it

Contrary to the current belief that the great whites are not natural man-eaters, Hislop believes that the great white sharks can develop a taste for humans and that once one does, it will travel from beach to beach devouring humans whenever it feels hungry

I’ve often caught sharks and removed human hands and feet from their stomachs

Hislop claims many of the missings did not drown but were devoured by the great whites and other sharks

Hislop says “Once a shark has tasted humans he will attack over and over again

“We’ve thinned out fish all over the world using nets

Please note that Vic Hislop’s claims are not accepted by the field scientists

The Taiwan Shark (1997) [Claimed length: 7 meters/23 feet]

This huge great white shark was caught off Hualien County, Taiwan, on 14 May 1997: It was reportedly (unconfirmed) almost 7 m (23 ft) in length with a mass of 2,500 kg (5,500 lb)

But, please note that the forced perspective technique is used in the photo above

On May 14, 1997, a huge great white shark was caught in a set net off Hualien County, Taiwan

The gross weight of this animal was 2500 kilograms (5,500 pounds) and the total length is claimed at 67 to 70 meters (~22 feet)

This length, however, is unconfirmed, and note that forced perspective is used in its only existing photo

Still, it is considered possibly one of the largest great white sharks ever recorded

Kangaroo Island great white shark (1987) [Claimed size: 7 meters/23 feet]

On April 1, 1987, a huge great white was captured near Kangaroo Island in Australia

It was estimated at least 7 meters (23 feet) long

According to Wikipedia, the shark size estimation methods proposed by J

E Randall suggest that the Kangaroo Island specimen was 58-64 meters (19-21 feet) long

K Fergusson also used shark size estimation methods proposed by J

E Randall to suggest that the MALTA specimen was 53-57 meters (17-19 feet) long

However, photographic evidence suggested that these specimens were larger than the size estimations yielded through Randall’s methods

Compagno-reviewed the cases of the KANGA and MALTA specimens in 1996 to resolve the dispute by conducting a comprehensive morphometric analysis of the remains of these sharks

Scientists re-examined photographic evidence in an attempt to validate the original size estimations and their findings indicated that estimations by P

The Marino Bay (Australia) Shark (2016) [Claimed length: 7 meters/23 feet]

In 2016, an Australian crew encountered and photographed what may be the largest great white shark ever seen (if their estimate is valid): approximately 23 feet (7 meters)

The shark was spotted just 300 feet off the shore of Marino Bay, South Australia

According to Shark Alerts South Australia, the non-profit organization, “the crew (of the shark patrol helicopter) used their Jet Boat to compare the size which is around 6 meters (20 feet) and the shark was bigger”

“The size issue from photos like this is always challenging

In a comment on their Facebook page, Shark Alerts South Australia says: “These guys are professionals so I can ensure you no lies on the length here… As stated the “biggest they’ve ever seen”

Istanbul shark (1965) [Claimed length: 7 meters/23 feet]

On December 28, 1965, a huge great white shark was caught near Maiden’s Tower, Istanbul, Turkey

It was measured at 7 meters and weighed an estimated 3 tons

The large great white shark was caught near Maiden’s tower, Istanbul, Turkey in 1965

There are also other reports of exceptionally large great white sharks from Turkey:

A large specimen was caught in the Sea of Marmara in 1916, after becoming entrapped in a fishing net it was shot in the head three times by fishermen (Deveciyan, 1926)

A female, caught by fishermen Niyazi Dalgın and Cemil Ünalır off Princes’ Islands, Marmara Sea (Istanbul)

It was also estimated at 7 meters/23 feet

It was also estimated at 7 meters/23 feet

A very large shark caught in the Bosphorus Strait was reported to have measured 8 meters/26 feet and 3 inches in 1926

Allegedly this shark also weighed an estimated 4,500 kg

Malta shark (1987) [Claimed length: 723 meters/237 feet]

The photos of the great white shark specimen that was caught off Filfla, Malta on April 17, 1987

On April 17, 1987, Alfredo Cutajar caught a big female great white off the coast of Filfla, Malta that was reportedly measured to be 723 meters (237 feet) long and weighed 2,880 kg (6,349 lbs)

This time, Cutajar claimed that the shark was 701 meters (23 feet) and Abela confirmed that

He said that he had accurately measured the shark twice, as it lay on the floor, at 23 feet 5 inches (714 meters)

In 2001, again, Cutajar said that it was 701 meters (23 feet) in length

Later, based on a set of its jaws, Spanish shark researchers Joan Barrull and Isabel Mate estimated that the Malta shark was between 6,68-681 meters (2192-2234 feet) in length

McCosker, authors of the book The Great White Shark (1991), have also largely discounted the claim of the Maltese fisherman

Great White Sharks’ relationship with humans

Despite that they are being responsible for by far the largest number of recorded shark attacks on humans, many scientists believe that they do not prey on humans

In the Mediterranean Sea, there have been 31 confirmed attacks against humans in the last two centuries, most of which were non-fatal

Accordingly, in most recorded attacks, great whites broke off contact after the first bite

However, some researchers have hypothesized that the reason the proportion of fatalities is low is not that sharks do not like human flesh, but because humans are often able to escape after the first bite

Related: Man Who Befriended a Great White Shark – Not a True Story

In the 1980s, John McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences, noted that divers who dove solo and were attacked by great whites were generally at least partially consumed, while divers who followed the buddy system were generally rescued by their buddy

Tricas, an author and professor at the University of Hawaii, suggest that a standard pattern for great whites is to make an initial devastating attack and then wait for the prey to weaken before consuming the wounded animal

Humans’ ability to move out of reach with the help of others, thus foiling the attack, is unusual for a great white’s prey

Related: How long do great white sharks live?

De Maddalena, A, Zuffa, M, Lipek, L, Celona A

“An analysis of the photographic evidence of the largest great white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758), captured in the Mediterranean Sea with considerations about the maximum size of the species” Annales, Series Historia Naturalis, 11 (2): 193-206

Great white shark on Wikipedia

Largest Great White Shark on Discoverycom

Largest Predatory Fish on Guinness World Records Book

What Are the Biggest Great White Sharks Ever Recorded?

“This Might Be The Largest Great White Shark Ever Caught On Camera” on The Dodo

“What Are the Biggest Great White Sharks Ever Recorded?” on owlcationcom

Mediterranean Great White Sharks – A Comprehensive Study Including All Recorded Sightings

By Alessandro De Maddalena and Walter Heim

Study: “An analysis of the photographic evidence of the largest great white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1754), captured in the Mediterranean Sea with considerations about the maximum size of the species”

Alessandro de Maddalena, Marco Zuffa, Lovrenc Lipej, Antonio Celona

“First records of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, from Mauritius, Zanzibar, Madagascar, and Kenya” South African Journal of Science, 96 (7): 365-367

“Maximum size of the white shark” on the Devian Art website

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