FWC needs help identifying boaters dragging shark in viral video

Video showing shark being dragged behind boat prompts FWC investigation

SARASOTA, Fla. -- “It’s extremely cruel what they are doing to this shark. They’re killing it and they know they’re killing it.”

Shark expert and Sarasota fisherman, Brian Martel, looks at video given to 10News by FWC of three men on a boat dragging a shark in tow.

Martel estimates the boat is traveling at about 30 miles per hour, but at that speed, can the shark survive if let go? 

“No! Even if it’s still breathing. When they stop that shark is going to die. They stretched the vertebrae on the shark and probably ruined the gills. The gills are where a shark gets oxygen from,” says Martel owner of Midnite Son Charters.

“The shark is jumping out of the water not on its own or trying to get away…that shark is being pulled to its death,” adds Martel.

The men can be heard laughing and saying the shark is nearly dead, ”Looks it’s already almost dead.”

FWC says it take this incident seriously and is investigating. FWC needs your help identifying the men in the video. Some social media reports say one of the men is from the Palmetto area.

Martel wonders if they’ve treated animals like this in the past. 

He says, “What do they do to other animals besides sharks? If you get a charge out of that, you're probably doing it to other animals too… Really, really bad people, no respect for anything else but themselves.”

Martel says the shark appears to be a spinner or black tip and are legal to kill, but not in this way.

“They’re just doing it for fun,” says Martel. He adds, “Unless you’re going to eat that shark, turn it loose, no reason to make it suffer… it’s them getting kicks out of that.”

FWC released the following statement:

The FWC has been alerted to a video circulating on multiple social media sites showing a group of individuals traveling at high speed on the water dragging a shark behind the vessel. The FWC takes this very seriously and is currently investigating this incident. We are also attempting to identify the individuals in the video and where it took place. Anyone with information is urged to contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or Tip@MyFWC.com. Individuals can remain anonymous. It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident.

Rob Klepper
Public Information Coordinator
Law Enforcement Division


 

 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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