A man catches a hammerhead shark with a fishing rod. Another man lifts the shark slightly above the water’s surface and fires two shots from a handgun into the animal’s gills.
Blood pours from the shark. The shooter laughs.
Video of the troubling incident surfaced this week after another troubling video of a shark being dragged by a speeding boat came to light.
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Russ Rector, an animal activist who said he was given the video by the person who filmed it, believes the same crew is responsible for both videos.
“My first reaction was how ridiculous it was and how cruel it was, quite frankly,” he said. “This was all done so they can videotape it and show it to their friends.”
Rector, who said he was told it happened in the waters off Siesta Key near Sarasota, called the shooting “inhumane.”
“If you are going to kill a shark, you shoot it in the head,” he said. “He fired shots into the gill, causing the shark to bleed out and suffocate.”
Late last month, video of a speeding boat brutally dragging a shark drew outrage, spawning an online petition to revoke the men’s fishing licenses. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said it was investigating the video, but had not named the people involved.
The anglers behind the dragging video, however, were named by local news and online commenters, who condemned their behavior. Two of the four were identified as Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee “Bo” Benac, whose mother is chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission.
As for the video showing the shark being shot, Rector said wildlife agency was also investigating that video.
“These people need to be held accountable for the nasty, evil, heinous thing they did,” he said.
By law, people cannot shoot sharks in Florida waters but can in federal waters further from shore. It was not clear exactly where this incident took place.
A spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told WSVN Channel 7 Thursday, “That video was forwarded to us as a result of the public outcry from the first shark dragging video. The video is being investigated, and FWC can’t confirm identities.”