Amateur Fishermen Bashed for Posing, Playing with Shark Like a Trophy: 'Where is Your Heart?'

An amateur fishing group was slammed for posting a photo of members holding a massive 16-foot tiger shark in shallow waters, boasting it was their "new personal best life time catch."

"Just a 5m tiger... used a tape measure to get a size of the shark, she was bigger then the tape," read the accompanying caption, posted on the Sharky-Pilbara Land Base Shark Fishing group, which has nearly 110,000 followers.

Just a 5m tiger used a tape measure to get a size of the shark, she was bigger then the tape, measuring 4m 80 from the...

Posted by Sharky -Pilbara Land base shark fishing on Saturday, September 14, 2019

The group—comprised of three friends in Pilbara, Australia—says they always release the fish they catch. But on social media some complained the shark was being harassed. Some commented the creature looked dead or pregnant, or that it was being treated like a "trophy."

"All in the name of a selfie to brag to your friends?" wrote one commenter. "Where is your heart and compassion? Please think about this animal as another living being to respect."

"I hope you enjoy your moment of glory," added another, "and I hope for your sake karma doesn't come bite you hard the next time your out fishing for sharks."

One person accused the group of trying to monetize their YouTube channel "by catching and torturing these animals."

On Wednesday night, a group admin wrote a Facebook post "too [sic] all the haters": "We will continue to game fish and catch and release sharks," it read. "It's our passion and we will stop when we want, not because you tell us too."

In addition to being targeted by big-game hunters, tiger sharks are hunted for their fin, flesh and liver, which is high in Vitamin A, and are often accidentally caught in commercial fisheries' nets. According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, the tiger shark is a "near-threatened species" because of excessive fishing and finning. Greenpeace put the tiger shark on its seafood "red" list, a tally of commonly sold fish with a high probability of being sourced unsustainably.

A study released this week by New Griffith University found that tiger-shark population off Queensland's coastline has declined by close to three-quarters over the last three decades.

"This has been particularly rapid in southern regions which is unusual,"' said the Australian River Institute's Chris Brown. "Tiger sharks are top predators that have few natural enemies, so the cause of the decline is likely overfishing. This decline is surprising, because tiger sharks are one of the most resilient large shark species."

Mothers can birth up to 70 pups every three years, Brown added "which means the population should be resilient to moderate levels of fishing."

Published in the journal Biological Conservation, the report estimates that the local tiger shark population has declined 71 percent since 1984.

"The decline in tiger sharks, which are a very resilient species, suggests that Australia is not doing enough to protect our unique shark fauna,"' Brown added.

A group of amateur fishers are being criticized for taking photos with a tiger shark that some say was in distress or dying. Sharky -Pilbara Land base shark fishing @ Facebook