Australia may be known for its kangaroos and “shrimp on the barbie,” but their people are also pretty amazing as well.
Fisherman Mathew Orlov had heard stories before about other fishermen who caught sharks, not realizing they were pregnant, but later saving their babies via c-section. He never thought it would happen to him.
On a typical day off the coast of Australia, Mathew went out for some fish to feed his family. His line was pulled and he knew he had caught something big. While reeling it back in, he felt a tug, which he later realized was his catch being attacked by another predator.
When Mathew finally pulled the shark onto the boat, he noticed the shark’s belly moving. It was then that instinct kicked in.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” says Mathew, “but I’ve been fishing long enough to know we needed to get the pups out as quickly as possible.”
The adrenaline rush was overwhelming for Mathew. He says he counted 98 pups.
The shark that Mathew caught was a sevengill shark, which after 12 months of pregnancy normally give birth to anywhere between 70-90 pups.
Some experts claim that in this instance, the pups would not survive, but Jane Williamson from Macqaurie University in Sydney, states that, “Although it is difficult to see what developmental stage the pups are at, I can’t tell if they are developed enough to cope alone, however, I can see the pups have no yolk sac which is a good sign and indicate they have a good chance of survival.”
Sevengill sharks have a better chance of surviving based on how close to full term they are born. Their parents do not stick around with them after they give birth.
For Mathew, there was comfort knowing that he could feed the mother shark to his family and that the pups could grow up in the wild.