• Onlookers gathered at the jetty to watch the animal being brought to shore 
  • The Facebook post on the catch garnered a mixed reaction
  • Many were in awe of the creature while others called in 'selfish stupidity'

A group of Australian fishermen taking part in an interclub fishing competition managed to pull in a monster shark weighing 394.5 kg (869.7 lbs) off the coast of Sydney on Sunday.

The images of the creature, which occupied almost the entire boat, garnered attention after Port Hacking Game Fishing Club posted them on its Facebook page, 9 News reported. According to Yahoo News Australia, the enormous fish was a tiger shark.

It was caught 16 nautical miles offshore in Port Hacking -- where water depths can reach up to 48 meters (157 feet) -- by Paul Barning and his Dark Horse crew.

The team took 45 minutes to reel the shark in, according to 7News. People gathered to watch as the boat carrying the shark landed at the Port Hacking jetty. The report said the fishermen had to hold the shark to stop it from slipping back into the water.

Naturally, some were in awe of this giant fish.

“My daughter is nine, I just showed her the picture as we caught a small mako a few weeks back and she said she thinks you caught a JAWS!” a fisherman reacted to the post.

Someone else wrote: "Think you’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

A few others also commented on how the crew managed to get the shark on the boat without destroying it. "Would’ve been kicking very hard,” one observed.

However, the images posted by the team on Facebook triggered controversy.

One person described the big catch as "selfish stupidity."

“What’s the thrill of killing something for the sake of it? Just curious,” another person wrote.

Scientists have recorded a fall in the number of tiger sharks by over 74 percent during the last 50 years, Yahoo News Australia noted.

Humane Society International shark expert Lawrence Chlebeck said larger sharks, like the one caught on Sunday, play an important role as apex predators of the ocean and learn not to prey on humans by the time they get to that size. After being caught, tiger sharks can be released back into the ocean with a high likelihood of survival, he said.

Sharks mostly eat smaller fish and other marine animals, rather than pursuing human swimmers
Sharks mostly eat smaller fish and other marine animals, rather than pursuing human swimmers AFP / Michele Spatari