Two sea anglers have been praised for releasing what could be be the largest shark ever caught in British waters.
Wayne Comben and Graeme Pullen from Hampshire caught the porbeagle, a member of the Great White family, off the coast at Boscastle, Cornwall.
They estimated it to be 10ft (3m) long and weighing 550lbs (250kg).
Dr David Gibson of the National Marine Aquarium said it would have been “morally unethical” to kill the fish to claim the official record.
It took the two men about 90 minutes to reel in the fish as it dragged their 17ft boat for more than a mile.
The existing British shark record stands at 507lbs but for any fish to be officially recognised as the biggest, rules stipulate it to be killed and weighed on shore.
Instead, Mr Pullen legally tagged the shark and returned it to the water.
He said the shark was in a “crazed feeding frenzy” after they dropped bait into the sea.
“I have never seen anything like it in 40 years of sea fishing,” he added.
Although a member of the Great White family of sharks, the porbeagle is not thought to be a threat to humans.
Dr Gibson said: “They don’t come inshore very often and are extremely secretive and quite shy.”
“With an animal listed as vulnerable and under such immense pressure as the porbeagle, it would be morally unethical to kill it.
“It’s great it’s been released and [tagging] contributes to greater scientific knowledge.”
The Angling Trust has recently launched a “notable fish list” in order to recognise such catches as all but a record.