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Newfoundland cod fisherman reels in 2-metre shark

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 6:52 PM - Jim Mansfield and his buddies went fishing for cod off Newfoundland's Trinity Bay over the weekend, but they ended up with something much bigger.

"It came up, all white first, actually. And then he rolled over and came to the surface and made a beeline for the side of the boat, and I said yep, that's a shark," Mansfield told the CBC, adding the shark was around 2 metres long.

"It was just doing head thrashes, and it was snapping at the boat, it was chomping on the water. It was not a happy camper."

Mansfield wasn't impressed either: The shark was locked onto Mansfield's favourite hook, which was made by his father who passed away 15 years ago.

They didn't want to risk putting the shark on board to get the hook so a friend used a small hand gaff to try and unlatch it. Fortunately, the hook was just tacked to the side of the shark's mouth.

"We got very lucky. I don't know what we would've done if it had been in his throat. I would've cried, I'm sure," Mansfield said.

"I kept the line pretty tight, and he got the hand gaff just in behind the hook, and sort of took some of the pressure off the line. And he gave it a quick tug and probably after about three tries, the hook popped out and the shark went on."

Porbeagle sharks aren't uncommon in and around Newfoundland in the early summer, when water temperatures are cool.

They'll eat just about anything, which may explain why one decided to snack on a fishing line. They're also naturally curious, so you'll often see them inspecting boats and floating objects.

If you accidentally hook a shark, experts say never bring it aboard or try to immobilize it beside a boat.

Opt for snapping off the hook if it's safe to do so, or cutting the line and letting the shark swim away.

If you can, try to get a few photos for the Department of Fisheries and Ocean so scientists can keep track on the sharks that visit the province.

Source: CBC


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