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Florida wildlife officials ‘wrapping up’ shark dragging investigation

Disturbing video of shark being dragged leads to FWC investigation

A viral video of a shark being dragged behind a boat has drawn the attention of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigators. Instagram user "marktheshark" posted the video, which he had found posted elsewhere, because he found it upsetting.
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A viral video of a shark being dragged behind a boat has drawn the attention of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigators. Instagram user "marktheshark" posted the video, which he had found posted elsewhere, because he found it upsetting.

The investigation into the individuals accused of dragging a shark behind a boat is nearing a close, Florida wildlife officials say.

“We are wrapping up,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement spokesman Rob Klepper, confirming a statement made by executive director Nick Wiley on Wednesday.

In late July, a video surfaced on Instagram of a shark tied up by its tail and being dragged behind a speeding boat, with the shot panning to three men looking on. The man who posted the video, Capt. Mark Quartiano, said he was sent the video by two men from Manatee County.

Robert Hueter, Mote Marine Laboratory’s director of the Center for Shark Research, told the Bradenton Herald in July he was contacted by FWC to see if he could tell what species the shark was and if it was alive at the time. Hueter said to determine that, he would have to know where and what time of year the video was taken, which the FWC officer was not allowed to indicate.

Klepper would only say that there are “multiple” officers investigating and the agency received “multiple” photos and videos.

“All of them are being looked at,” Klepper said.

This includes a video of beer being poured over the gills of a shark, using it as a beer bong, and a video of a hammerhead shark being shot while hooked on a line.

He would not say how many individuals were being investigated, nor when the findings would be presented to the 12th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.

“I can’t speculate to a definite timeline on that,” he said.

When contacted by the Bradenton Herald Wednesday morning, the State Attorney’s Office said the investigation was open and pending, but would not give any further details.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

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