Dramatic video shows N.B. fishermen rescuing great white shark
Published Tuesday, September 17, 2019 12:31PM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 17, 2019 1:30PM ADT
Some New Brunswick fishermen have quite the tale to tell after freeing a great white shark caught in a weir, and they have video of the dramatic rescue to prove it.
William Hanley says he was confronted by the 14-foot shark while examining his fishing weir -- an enclosure in the water set for taking fish -- Sunday morning. The animal appeared to be in distress.
“I was letting the line go and it came up and underneath me and I said, ‘Whoa! That’s a big shark!’” recalls Hanley, who operates out of Back Bay, N.B.
It was the first time he had ever encountered a great white shark in his weir, and he says the subsequent rescue operation -- which was captured on camera -- wasn’t easy.
At first, he contained the shark in a large fishing net and attempted to raise the shark out of the weir using the net. But the shark’s teeth proved too sharp for the delicate net.
“She was a little harder because her teeth were so sharp. We’d pull the twine and the twine would just part, just like a hot butter knife going through butter,” describes Hanley.
“We tried to get her up but couldn’t hold her up … [her teeth] cut the twine all to pieces.”
He then attached the shark’s tail to a winch on his boat and pulled the animal to safety.
Some people have asked Hanley why he didn’t just kill the distressed shark, but he says that was never an option, and that fishermen have to share the bay with all marine life.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me, ‘Why didn’t you do that?’ It’s not bothering me,” he says of the shark.
While this was the first time a shark has been trapped in Hanley’s weir, it’s not the first shark he’s seen in the waters near Back Bay. He says he saw a much larger great white -- roughly twice the size of the shark he freed -- in the bay a few weeks ago.
Hanley doesn’t necessarily believe there are more sharks in the waters nowadays -- he thinks it just seems that way because more people are documenting the sightings on social media.
“They’ve been around. Just more people out there nowadays seeing them, that’s all it is,” he says.
Regardless, the dramatic rescue has been the talk of the town in Back Bay this week.
“Very large sharks; I am surprised because it does get pretty shallow here when the tide goes out, so 14 foot and above, that’s quite the shark,” says area resident Renate Roske-Shelton.
“I guess I won’t go swimming anytime soon.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron