Great white sharks have been protected in South Africa since 1991, but that doesn’t mean people don't catch them. This dramatic footage was shot by Lars Liedberg, who had just finished a meal in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa when he saw a group of fishermen struggling to retrieve their hook from a juvenile great white shark on a nearby beach. 

Whether or not these men intentionally hooked the great white is unclear, but there is an important lesson to be learned from what they did thereafter. We're glad to see that the shark was eventually pushed out to sea ... but stress caused by wrestling with fishing line can be fatal in many shark species, even after the animal is released. Had they chosen to cut the line rather than land the shark, the fisherman would have greatly increased this animal's chance of post-release survival.

There is certainly no shortage of $2 shark-fishing hooks, but vulnerable sharks ... they're are a bit harder to come by. If you find yourself in a similar situation, forget your hook and release the fish as quickly as possible.

Top header image: Lwp Kommunikáció/Flickr

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