A disturbing video showing fisherman gaff a protected great white shark has been posted on social media.
In the video, which was posted to Facebook by Mike Hefner, a juvenile great white shark is pulled from the water and up the side of the Huntington Beach Pier by a fisherman using a long rope with a hook which appears to be lodged in the shark gills.
Another image, posted later, shows the damaged gills were split and bleeding.
Great white sharks are a protected species and it is against the law to land or haul one out of the water for photos. Once the shark is identified, the fisherman is supposed to cut the line and release the shark.
Anglers who catch great white sharks in California can be fined up to $10,000.
Officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are aware of the video posting, and investigators are looking for the fisherman.
Hefner, who was visiting the area, said he did not know the fisherman, and the shark was released after the photos were taken.
“From what I saw it was alive when they threw it back, but obviously it got f** up by the gaff,” Hefner replied to a question in a post made after the initial video was uploaded.
However, some others who witnessed the scene, had doubts as to whether the shark survived.