Fisherman man pleads ignorance after killing great white shark

A New Zealand fisherman who recently captured and decapitated a protected great white shark has been fined $600 – his excuse being that he did not  know what type of shark he had caught.

The nation’s Department of Conservation announced Friday that its investigation began March 15, after a Māori elder notified authorities after she spotted the headless shark carcass near the Mahia Boat Ramp.

(View a graphic image of the carcass in this link.)

The fisherman was located and confessed to catching the shark and removing its head and jaw. The man told authorities he did not know it was a white shark.

“As well as failing to report his capture of the animal, the man received the infringement for being in possession of the head and jaw of the shark without a relevant authority under the Wildlife Act,” said the DOC’s Matt Tong.

Some on social media did not believe the man’s story. The Blue Planet Society stated via X: “His defense? Claims he didn’t know it was a great white shark. Even though he kept the head.”

The shark’s head and jaw were donated to the Māori community.

Great white sharks are protected under New Zealand’s Wildlife Act 1953. Intentionally hunting and killing them is punishable by fines of up to $250,000 and two years’ imprisonment.

Fishermen are required to report unintentional white shark captures if the sharks cannot be released alive.

“Accidentally catching something is not an infringement,” the DOC explained. “But keeping, killing, or failing to report it is.”

–Top image courtesy of the Department of Conservation

Story originally appeared on For The Win