The Ministry for Primary Industries says the fishermen caught riding a shark like a surfboard in Tauranga Harbour did not breach the Animal Welfare Act.
The video of Mount Maunganui man Eddie Bithell riding a dead shark being towed behind a boat was posted on Facebook causing a stir amongst environmentalists.
Ministry for Primary Industries has ruled the shark riding incident is not in breach of the Animal Welfare Act. Photo: Supplied.
Today an MPI spokesperson says there is no breach and the matter will not be investigated any further.
“MPI completed its assessment of the shark incident today and has determined that there has been no breach of the Animal Welfare Act, as the shark had been dead for around 30 hours before the video footage was recorded.”
“MPI will not be further investigating the matter.”
Tauranga fishers Mark Collins and Zane Roderick were out fishing near Mayor Island when they accidentally caught the 289kg shark after 10 hours of reeling it in on Friday, April 20.
Mark says the pair did not intentionally set out to catch the shark and always tag and release catches.
“We didn’t know it was a shark at the time, it was only when we pulled it up and it was already dead by then.
It is when the fishermen went to return the shark to the sea on the Sunday, more than 30 hours after it was caught that the video of the shark being ridden was taken.
It was later posted on Mark’s Facebook wall.
Mark says he regrets the incident.
“We were heading about two miles offshore to return the shark.
“We just got carried away in the afternoon’s celebrations,” says Mark.