California authorities are investigating the circumstances surrounding a video of fishermen reeling in what appears to be a juvenile great white shark on the Huntington Beach Pier.
State Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan said Wednesday that it’s unclear what happened to the shark after it was hauled onto the pier in Orange County last week. The two-minute video, which has received thousands of YouTube views, cuts off as the shark thrashes around and a crowd cheers.
“Hey, take a picture fast,” one man yells.
Great whites are protected under state and federal laws, and fishermen who catch one are required to release them immediately or face fines up to $10,000, Hughan said. The video shows the fishermen pulling the shark onto the pier and multiple people cheering and taking photos. The person who provided the video to KTLA told the TV station that the fishermen ultimately released the shark back into to the water.
Hughan said it wasn’t immediately clear whether the shark on the pier was a great white or a bull shark.
“The video is pretty grainy, and it’s difficult to identify,” he said.
However, Chris Lowe of The Shark Lab at Cal State Long Beach told KTLA he was convinced it was a great white.
This could be the second great white encounter in about a week in Huntington Beach.
Last week, five men were able to drag a 500-pound great white back into the water after someone hauled it ashore.
Marine Safety Officer Michael Bartlett said the angler was surf casting Feb. 21 when he unknowingly reeled in the 8-foot shark.
The men cautiously pushed and pulled the shark — avoiding its teeth — until they managed to get it back into the waves.Watch killer whales feast on a shark off the Central Coast