A great white catch in North Carolina has stirred up controversy over the handling of the animal before release.
The great white catch happened in October by Jeff Heglund, who is a youth pastor at Calvary Temple Church. What makes the great white catch remarkable is that according to the South Florida Shark Club, the great white catch, which happened on-shore in the Outer Banks, is the first ever shore-caught on the East Coast.
What makes the great white catch controversial is the handling of the animal before it was released.
Heglund, who spent more than an hour fighting the line before ever seeing the animal, was shocked to see that it was a great white. When he finally got the fish to shore he dragged it up onto the sand for examination. This is what has caused criticism.
“Great white sharks are a protected species in Atlantic waters,” the Marine Conversation Science Institute posted to Facebook. “That means you do not drag it up the beach for poses, gap the jaw, or lift the tail to get that winning shot.”
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While Heglund pointed out that it is illegal to kill a great white, he did not state anything about knowing rules against bringing them to shore.
The MCSI went on to give some advice to anyone who does happen to be involved in a great white catch: “What you do is cut the line and release immediately, especially if you are not removing hook or tagging.”
While it doesn’t appear that Heglund was actually out looking for a great white catch, it does bring to light that many people would have no idea what to do if they caught one. Hopefully Heglund’s great white catch will serve as a public service announcement for how to handle a great white.All images via Calvry Temple Youth/Wordpress.