The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a video showing a group of men on a boat dragging a live shark behind it at a high speed.
The video, which has spread across social media sites, shows the group of men laughing as the shark is being dragged by a fishing line, repeatedly slamming into the water at a high speed.
At one point, the camera flashes to a man in sunglasses saying that the shark is “already almost dead.”
Watch the shocking video below, but be warned that the footage may be disturbing to some.
The three men on the boat have been identified by the FWC, but WFTS ABC News reported that the man behind the wheel is named Michael Wenzel.
Wenzel’s Instagram page, which is now blocked, show posts of him holding wildlife in an improper way.
FWC spokesman Robert Klepper said in a statement to the Bradenton Herald that the organization takes the incident “very seriously” and is still investigating it.
A photo related to the incident showing two of the men holding the same shark “ripped to pieces” was obtained by WESH 2 News, but it decided to not publish it because of its graphic nature.
The video was first posted by South Florida charter fishing Captain Mark “Mark the Shark” Quartiano on his Instagram page. He said he received the video from Wenzel, who was looking for praise of the incident. Instead, Quartiano said he was deeply disturbed by the incident and believes charges should be pressed.
“This is just really sick, one of the most horrific things I have seen in 50 years of professional sport fishing,” Quartiano said to WESH. “I don’t know if this is criminal, but it would seem to me that this is animal cruelty and they should be prosecuted.”
The FWC is asking anyone with additional information on the incident to contact its Wildlife Alert Hotline at at 888-404-3922 or via email at Tip@MyFWC.com.