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Men Spotted Trying To Ride 6-Foot Shark on Panama City Beach

Men Spotted Trying To Ride 6-Foot Shark on Panama City Beach

Outrage has been sparked online over pictures of men attempting to clamber on top of a huge 6-foot shark on a beach in Panama City, Florida.

Images of the act were posted to the Facebook group “I Love Panama City Beach” on Sunday by beachgoer Tammy Scott.

“This photo has went viral but in a bad way. These guys was getting the hook out of the sharks mouth and to do so you have to keep the shark from moving. So with that being said the shark is swimming out in the ocean UNHARM,” Scott captioned one of the pictures.

In the comments, some expressed their dismay at the sight.

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“Don’t understand the need of sitting on them….not trying to start anything but don’t understand,” one commenter said.

“Why are they sitting on it! Leave them alone. That’s horrible,” another said.

Videos of this shark and other smaller creatures being pulled from the water were also uploaded by Scott. Since deleted on the Facebook group, the videos were also shared by local news media on Instagram. In one video, a shark can be seen thrashing around in the water as it struggles to escape.

Others came to the defense of the men, saying that the video may have been taken out of context.

“It’s so they can safely remove the hook,” one said in response to the query of why the men were sitting on the large shark.

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It is unclear whether the men deliberately fished for and caught the shark, or if they were trying to help the shark by unhooking it and setting it free.

“People everyone speculate that they were doing something wrong, did you think maybe they were trying to help it out since it floated on shore? Don’t always assume the bad!” another user wrote.

“Catch a fish no one says anything, catch a shark, people cry lol,” another said.

Stock image of a blacktip reef shark swimming near a beach. In Florida, a group of men can be seen sitting atop an unknown species of shark on a beach.
ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS

The species of shark involved in the incident is unclear. However, shark fishing in Florida is legal, with some limitations on protected species. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the deliberate fishing of sharks including Atlantic angel sharks, sand tiger sharks, bignose sharks, dusky sharks, hammerhead shark species, lemon sharks, mako sharks, spiny dogfish, tiger sharks and great white sharks are banned in Florida waters.

For permitted species, there is a bag limit of one shark per person per day. However, specific a shore-based shark fishing permit is required for those fishing sharks from the shore.

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Scott noted in the comments of the pictures that “both sharks where [sic] caught and released no harm to the sharks or anyone.”

Florida has the most shark attacks of any U.S. state, but despite this, attacks are still rare. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), which is operated by the Florida Museum of Natural History, Florida saw 16 cases of unprovoked attacks by sharks in 2022 representing 39 percent of the U.S. total and 28 percent of unprovoked bites worldwide.

Being killed by a shark is extremely unlikely, however, with a likelihood of about one in 4.3 million. This means that you are around 300 times more likely to die from sun or heat exposure than by shark attack.

Do you have an animal or nature story to share with Newsweek? Do you have a question about sharks? Let us know via science@newsweek.com.

Published: 2023-06-07 12:36:06

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