In the video, the shark can be seen flailing helplessly behind the boat as it’s being dragged by its tail. One passenger points at the animal and says, “Look, it’s already almost dead,” while the others laugh. The video was sent to charter fisherman Mark Quartiano, who posted it to his Instagram feed.
Quartiano has spent the last 40 years fishing up and down the South Florida coastline and catching thousands of sharks, earning him the nickname “Mark the Shark.” He said the video was sent in by two people on the boat, and he tagged them in the post, but one of them appears to have deleted his account.
Newsweek reported that Quartiano,who says he releases endangered species and other unfishable animals, has run into issues with animal rights activists, but appears to be in a rare moment of accord on this catch. He wrote on this post, "For once I may have to agree with Peta. #Whodoesthisshit #sowrong #notcool."
People commenting on the post agreed, submitting comments like "They should be dragged by a high speed boat and see how they like it!" and "What a bunch of jerks! That's is so sad what they are doing I hope and pray they get punished!"
The famed fisherman told the local ABC affiliate, "I've been doing this for 40 years and never even seen anything close to that kind of disrespect to an animal."
"There's no sportsmanlike conduct with these guys. They just want to kill something, display it on their Facebook, get more followers. It's just a horrible act."
Dylan Hubbard, a marina owner in Madeira Beach, Florida called the incident "unethical," telling Action News that the shark "was being dragged to a slow drowning death."
Though it is difficult to tell whether the shark is still alive in the short video, Quartiano claimed he was also sent photo of the dead fish’s remains.
The FWC said in a statement that it "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 agency said it is not yet able to determine whether there were any legal violations in the video.