Saturday, July 5, 2014

Illegal shark fishing causes injury to swimmer.

A swimmer in Manhattan Beach, CA was bitten this morning by a juvenile great white shark! Predictably, the headlines are screaming "Shark Attack Injures Swimmer!" and "Swimmer Attacked by Shark!"

Here is what actually happened. A man, fishing from the pier, caught a juvenile great white shark and was fighting it for 40 minutes. Trying to get away, the shark started biting at the line and in doing so, bit a swimmer. It is illegal to fish for great white sharks in California. Here is an excerpt from the California Fish and Game regulations.

"As defined in state law, “take” means “hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill or attempt to hunt, pursue, catch, capture, or kill.” Anyone who takes a white shark without a permit may be cited for violations of CESA and subject to criminal prosecution"

As usual, when something happens with a white shark, the shark gets the blame, not the fisherman who was endangering the public, by fighting a great white shark in waters crowded with swimmers on a holiday weekend! The headlines should read something like this "Illegal shark fishing causing serious harm to swimmer!"

Luckily the swimmer has non life-threatening injuries and we hope he'll have a speedy recovery. 

Martin Graf
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at


Anonymous said...

While it is illegal to catch and keep a great white shark, it is NOT illegal to fish for one, especially from a pier. You cannot pick and choose which shark gets on your hook - if anything bites at all. So the fishing was legal but if the guy KEEPS the great white, then he is subject to a fine. Get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

and of course the fisherman only had worms on his line and the little worm attracted the shark is illegal to hunt...first line in the quoted regulations...sprat to catch a mackerel ......worm to catch a shark?? I think not

Shark Diver said...

You are correct in that you can't pick and choose, which shark gets on the hook, but once you hook it and recognize it as a white shark, you have to cut it loose. This guy was fighting it for 40 minutes.

Nicholas Meyler said...

40 minutes is a long time to try to reel in a fish, certainly. If the fisherman had cut the line, would that have meant the shark was out of danger? Or, was it better to try to remove the hook? Sounds like he probably should have just cut the line... where were the lifeguards, coastguards, fish and game, police, etc. while this was happening?