MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – Video showing a shark being dragged behind a speeding boat has prompted an investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Bradenton Herald reports.
The video was shared multiple times on social media but it’s not clear exactly when or where it was recorded.
South Florida charter fishing Captain Mark “Mark The Shark” Quartiano shared the video on Instagram on Monday, saying it was sent to him by two other Instagram users.
Video contains graphic language and imagery that some may find disturbing:
“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,” the Bradenton Herald quoted officials as stating.
In the video, you can see three men in the boat (in addition to the person recording the incident.)
“Look, it’s already almost dead,” one man says, pointing at the shark. You can hear laughter in the background.
WESH 2 News in Orlando said they had obtained a related photo that shows what appears to be the same shark, ripped to pieces, and being held by two men. The men’s faces are not visible. The station did not publish the photo, saying it was too graphic.
“This is just really sick, one of the most horrific things I have seen in 50 years of professional sport fishing,” WESH quoted Quartiano as saying. “I don’t know if this is criminal, but it would seem to me that this is animal cruelty and they should be prosecuted.”
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.