Florida shark attack: Man suspected of hitting shark with hammer identified; investigation ongoing, FWC says
INDIAN HARBOUR BEACH, Fla. - Content warning: The video above may be disturbing to some readers and watchers. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it has identified the person believed to be captured on video Tuesday allegedly hitting a shark with a hammer at a Florida beach and then seen dragging it to the ocean.
In an email to FOX 35, a spokesperson confirmed that it had identified the person in the video, but that it would not release the man's name since the investigation is ongoing. The person has not been named a suspect or person of interest and no arrests or potential charges have been announced.
"The FWC takes potential resource violations seriously and is currently investigating this incident," FWC said in a statement. The spokesperson said she was unable to release any additional details pending the investigation.
The video was captured via the Harbour House Oceanfront surfcam at Bicentennial Beach Park in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida, and shared with FOX 35 News.
In a Facebook poston Wednesday, Indian Harbour Police said two males were seen catching a shark while shore fishing at Bicentennial Beach Park. They reportedly brought the shark to shore, hit the shark over the head with a hammer, and then dragged it back into the water and released it, police said.
Indian Harbour Police investigated the incident and handed the case over to FWC, who is the lead agency. The Brevard County Sheriff's Office also deferred to FWC's investigation.
Shark fishing is legal, though there are some rules depending if you're fishing on a boat or from the shore, a bridge, pier, or jetty.
When fishing from the shore – also known as shore fishing – the FWC requires anyone 16 and older, including those 65 and older, to pass an online course and to obtain a permit.
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It is not clear if the second person who was reportedly fishing has been identified or is involved in the investigation.
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, it's possible someone could be charged with animal cruelty, FWC said. According to Florida statue, animal cruelty can range from a misdemeanor to third-degree felony.
"My co-worker and I were just stunned to see that this was happening right in front of our property," said Faith Madsen, a wedding planner at Harbour House Oceanfront Venue.
"I went out to see what he had caught. He had reeled in a 5-6 foot shark and pulled it all the way up the sand, removed the hook, and took a hammer and started beating the shark over the head," she said.
"To see something like that happen to an animal as someone who grew up here, who also fishes and have friends who do this, was just disturbing and horrifying," she said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or text Tip411. You may remain anonymous.