By Mark McConville
WATCH this kind-hearted fisherman give a stranded Sand Shark a helping hand back into the ocean.
Heart-warming footage shows the angler lift the large shark and carry it back to the water so it doesn’t die on the rocks.
All is not as it seems however, as rather than rescue the Sand Shark the fisherman had caught it on his line before releasing it back into the sea.
The video shows conservation minded angler Robert Kyle, from Durban in South Africa, demonstrate how to safely release a shark back into the wild after catching it for sport in Ballito, South Africa.
“My motto is ‘a fish is too valuable to catch only once,’” he said.
“Because I took the time to handle my fish well and release it, another angler can now potentially have the pleasure of catching the same fish.
“My hope is that they will treat the animal with the same respect and ultimately the shark will carry on with a normal life and be able to breed and contribute to the population as if nothing had ever happened.
“People need to know that while fishing is considered by many as a blood sport which it technically is, there are ways that we can handle the fish that ensure that they will suffer next to no ill effects from the capture and as a result our impact on the ocean can be next to nothing.”
Robert, who works as a Senior Aquarist at Ushaka Sea World, said many people have seen the video out of context and ended up missing the message he’s trying to portray.
“A lot of people who see the video out of context think that I found the shark out of the water and saved its life by returning it,” he said.
“This is not the case at all and without the correct message, my hopes of educating anglers from my video are wasted.
“Also, people think that it is risky handling a “shark” like this while in fact they don’t even have real biting teeth but rather a hard, crushing plate in their mouth for breaking up crabs and crustaceans which they feed on mostly.
“I was in very little danger from the animal at all but people’s preconceived ideas about sharks immediately lead them to assume that it is dangerous!”
Robert was keen to stress his video was taken in a private capacity and had nothing to do with his work.
“I am passionate about the ocean and marine conservation and my reason for doing this video was to educate my fellow anglers on how to correctly handle sand sharks/guitarfish,” he said.
“The shark was measured and tagged with a spaghetti type tag supplied by the Oceanographic Research Institute which, if the shark is ever re-caught, will allow us to calculate growth rate for the animal as well as movement patterns.
“All this leads to a better understanding of the animals and will make it easier for conservation organisations and governments to put into place legislation which will be more effective in protecting the species from overfishing and other threats.”
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