Mystery Mackerel Shark in Hawaii

Helmut Nickel, Shark Year Magazine,

Is it the infamous ‘White Death’ or just an ordinary (but huge) Mako Shark ?

On January 12th, the recreational fisherman Addison Toki  has filmed a big shark in the waters near Kaena Point off Oahu, Hawaii. The specimen is quite obvious a member of the Lamnidae family (mackerel sharks).
The fisherman believes that he has encountered a ‘huge great white’. According to him, the shark measured about 12 to 14 feet in length. You can see the complete video in our Video-Section (here).

Today (Jan 14th), a Hawaiian news article is reporting that a local shark expert from the Shark Lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology has confirmed the species identity to be a great white shark Carcharodon carcharias.
Quote (published on :
“….And just the overall shape and coloration and the shape of the tail, it all points to it being a great white, or a white shark.”

I have already mentioned my doubts about the correct identification of the shark, but I still believe that this is an enormous specimen of Isurus oxyrinchus ( Shortfin mako shark ). The reported (estimated) length would represent the maximum size of this species.
In my opinion, it does not appear to be a great white shark for various reasons ( e.g. shape of head/snout and first dorsal fin ). Another example:
Below is a video-screenshot showing the underside of the right pectoral fin of the Hawaiian specimen.
As you can see, the tip of the fin seems to be missing the obvious black markings, which would be characteristic for Carcharodon carcharias.
Here are a couple of picture-links (showing the ventral view of pectoral fins of white sharks) for comparison :

1st image 2nd image3rd image

 Note: Another remarkable incident involving a mako shark was filmed in Hawaii recently (see here).




  1. chris bird

    Yeah, when i originally saw the video my instincts were Mako, i know some specimens have been caught in excess of 13ft. I don’t understand how they can say it is a white shark. coloration and shape is all wrong. nice article btw. 

  2. Laone

    A little late, but just my 2 cents….I have to say upon viewing the video several times, I believe it is a great white. I have noticed a “trend” so to speak in the last 2 years of great whites having more mako-ish short snouts where their eyes are closer to the ends of their snouts. I have recently been following a shark with that same formation. To be honest, I thought it could have been her. And it is NOT uncommon for great whites from the pacific area or guadalupe area to travel to the hawaii area.

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