NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Authorities Wednesday investigated the beheading of a young shark, whose bloody carcass was left on a dock in Orange County.
Photos of the mutilated shark posted on social media sparked outrage.
Clay Kirksey said he was shocked as he watched a group of fishermen parade the shark’s head and decapitated carcass near their boat at the Newport Harbor Shipyard in the Lido Peninsula Saturday.
“They were biting it, throwing it around, sticking it on their head. It was brutal to see that they’d treat an animal that beautiful that way,” Kirksey said. “All these men were intoxicated.”
The shipyard’s CEO, Jesse Salem, said the boat owner who caught the shark is a longtime client, who knew that catching and killing a great white shark is illegal in California.
He reported the crime to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We are a recreational marina, and we have several hundred fishing boats on the property. I’ve been there a long time. I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Salem said.
Wednesday night, wildlife officers collected DNA samples and filets of the shark.
They questioned the Costa Mesa man who caught the shark. He told them it was a mako. Unlike great whites, they are legal to catch.
Investigators said they cannot tell from the photos what kind of shark it was.
Kirksey said he was convinced it was a great white, but it does not matter to him. “Considering the way the dude stuck the tail and the head up to his head, and he had blood dripping down from his face. That really disgusted me.”