An investigation by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is underway after people on social media posted photos of a decapitated baby great white shark found in Newport Beach.
The photos apparently were taken over the weekend, but it is unclear exactly where they were shot and what the circumstances were behind the mutilation.
Anyone who mistakenly catches a white shark is required to immediate release it, said Carrie E. Wilson, a marine environmental scientist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
She added that white sharks are a protected species and that their population numbers are too low to allow any harvest.
Dr. Chris Lowe, of the Cal State Long Beach Shark Lab, looked at the pictures and said it looks like the shark was caught by fishermen who may have carved out all the meat.
Lowe said eating young shark meat is not healthy.
“People really shouldn’t eat these young sharks because one of our studies has found that they have some of the highest contaminant levels found in any sharks,” he said.
“Eating just one piece of young white shark can give you the highest mercury level that you would get from eating any fish, and probably account for your entire mercury level for the entire year."
Sorry to need to share this sad photo but if anyone knows who caught and cut up this baby white shark and left it on #NewPortPier please let us know. Killing something just to kill it, especially a protected species with already low populations it's a tragedy for not only marine ecosystems but for the greater ocean reliant community. On a positive note the number of informed people who actually care to protect these animals is rapidly growing and I am #grateful beyond belief for that but it looks like there are still people out there that may not think of them as anything more than a potential fictitious "Jaws" creature. Truth is there is so much more to these animals than meets the eye and think about how many people swim and surf around that pier despite it being used as a #sharknursery ground #respectLife #RespectSharks #HelpSaveSharks #SaveSharks #ForTheFuture #HealthOceansNeedSharks #CaliforniaWildlife #CaliforniaGovernment #NOAA #californiacoastalcomission #CaliforniaFishandGame STOP #SharkFishing #savethegreatwhiteshark PHOTO FROM YOUTH AMBASSADOR @madi_makoff