A crew of fishermen whose catch of the day was splashed across social media have defended their actions, after the shark they caught was filmed being towed through Sans Souci on Sunday.
A regular day out on the boat turned viral, after the crew snagged a 2.4 metre Mako shark, 60 kilometres off Botany Bay.
Footage of the 165 kilogram creature being driven on the back of a boat through the M5 and the airport tunnel, showed the shark with its mouth wide open, its razor-sharp teeth snarling at passing motorists.
The video was posted on Facebook page TeamBaitcatcher.
“We definitely weren’t expecting it to go this far,” skipper Nathan Struck said.
“It wasn’t our intention to let it just hang off the back – we just couldn’t fit it in and we had nothing to cover it with.
“We had people driving alongside us taking photos, waving us down to ask if it was real.
“At the Foreshore Road ramp we had a crowd of about 50 watching us, some helping to drag it in.”
But the response has not all been positive.
“We’ve copped some abuse but we’ve found that a lot of these people commenting or sending us abusive messages are actually other fishermen...everyone wants a bigger and better catch,” Mr Struck said.
“People can be sensitive about this stuff. But they’re happy to get meat from the supermarket or go hunting.
“We have respect for and love the ocean – we don’t kill for the sake of it. We put back 95 per cent of catches. We just took this opportunity. We take one every three or four months.
“People don’t realise how large our fish stocks are. If they knew they how many sharks were out there they wouldn’t even put their toes in the water.”
Although one Mako catch per day is permitted, the experienced fisherman warns amateurs to stay clear of attempting a similar catch, which took three hours to reel in.
“It’s not something they should take on,” he said. “We’ve been fishing our whole lives, we understand characteristics of fish.
“The last thing we want to do is see fish go to waste. Each of us got their portion to feed our families. It’s like a good T-Bone steak. Grilled on the barbie, she’s done. It’s fanstastic for kids because there are no bones.”