Video Shows Great White Shark Being Freed From Fishing Lines by Brave Angler

The extraordinary moment a pair of anglers started freeing an entangled great white shark from fishing wire has been captured on video.

Footage posted to YouTube (via Storyful) shows Sean Bailey leaning off the edge of a boat in order to help a shark whose movements appear to be severely restricted.

Bailey was on the boat with his father, approximately half a mile off Oceanside City Beach in San Diego, when they spotted a shark.

Upon closer inspection, they realized it was swimming in circles, and that it was covered in fishing wires and leaders.

"Actually he's got a bunch of fishing line stuck to him," Bailey tells his father in the video, as the shark swims slowly and laboriously ahead of the boat.

"Oh my God, he's dragging so much. If I try to grab it, he's going to go crazy."

Bailey's father can be heard warning his son to "Watch out, don't get tangled," as the duo prepare to intervene.

With his father steering the boat as close to the shark as possible, the wires ensnaring its body can be seen clearly, and Bailey leans over the edge of the boat on his front, using a prod to try to free the animal.

At one point the shark thrashes and Bailey backs away, but he returns seconds later to continue helping.

The video doesn't show the encounter in its entirety, but Bailey has explained in a separate clip that they managed to get a lot of the wire off, including a section that was wrapped around one of the great white's fins.

"Once we do that, the shark kind of gets a little crazy and it spins off and it swims normally again and it goes away, dives down deep," he says.

"Just keep in mind, all you anglers out there, myself included, make sure you keep all of your lines and everything under control because we don't want to see any more of that."

He adds: "I think the shark's going to be okay."

A recent study found that the population of great whites off the coast of central California is rising, with researchers identifying California's 1994 decision to ban fishing of the sharks as a key factor behind the species' recovery.

In the same year, the state also introduced tighter restrictions on gill nets, which can trap sharks, as well as other marine species such as dolphins and turtles.

"We are cautiously optimistic that this is a good news story for the ocean ecosystem off California," Paul Kanive, a marine ecologist at Montana State University and lead author of the study, told Newsweek last month.

"The findings of this study are a good indicator of the overall health of the coastal ecosystem of California. As an apex predator, white sharks need a healthy structure of other animals in the lower levels in the food chain.

"The preferred prey of the white shark while coastal, seals and sea lions, have rebounded to very high numbers thereby providing sustainable and plentiful food sources for the sharks."

A great white shark in California waters
A stock image shows a great white shark, not related to the animal that was freed by Bailey. The predator had been entangled in fishing wires and struggling to swim. demarfa/iStock