South African Fishermen Rescue Baby Great White Shark (Video)

| by Kendal Mitchell
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A tourist recorded two fishermen attempting to rescue a baby great white shark from their fishing lines in South Africa.

While eating breakfast at a beachside restaurant in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, Lars Liedberg of Zimbabwe videotaped two men pushing the baby shark into deeper waters after accidentally catching it in their lines.

Liedberg said he watched one of the fishermen struggle to pull the catch in before realizing what it was.

“I saw the dark shape in the waves and realized it was a shark,” Liedberg said.

Liedberg said he saw the two men quickly pull the shark closer to shore in an attempt to retrieve the fishing hook used to catch it.

After taking the hook out of the shark’s mouth, the fisherman dragged it into deeper waters where it swam away.

“Eventually they pushed it away from them into the deeper blue,” Liedberg said. "All you could see was the beautiful tail fin above the darker deeper water."

Great white sharks have been a protected species in South Africa since 1991. No person can be permitted or attempt to catch the animal.

In 1998, the South African government passed the Marine Living Resources Act, an environmental protection act geared at preserving marine areas and species. Part of the law states it is illegal to attempt to kill, disturb or posses a great white shark without a permit.

A South African court fined a local fisherman nearly $13,000 for accidentally catching a great white shark in 2013. Leon Bekker of George, Western Cape, South Africa, said he did not realize he caught a great white until he pulled it to shore, but pleaded guilty as not to waste the court’s time. It marked the first time someone received a judicial punishment for killing a shark.

Sources: Daily Mail (2), Southern African Legal Information InstitutePhoto Credit: Daily Mail