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Video Showing Capture Of Shark At Huntington Beach Pier Being Investigated By State Agency

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The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking into a video that shows fishermen reeling in what may be a great white shark, reports the L.A. Times.

"We are aware of the video and our law enforcement division is launching an investigation," Andrew Hughan, a public information officer with the department, told LAist.

The great white shark is listed as an endangered species. As such, they are protected at the state and federal level, according to Hughan. Certainly, a fisherman may catch a great white by accident; this isn't a violation in and of itself. But the fisherman is expected to release it immediately once it's recognized that the fish may be a great white. "They're not allowed to be possessed. You're not allowed to bring it out to take pictures with it. You can't bring it home," said Hughan.

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In the video, the fishermen lay the shark on the pier after they've reeled it in. A crowd of onlookers cheer the catch, with one person saying, "Take pictures fast. Take pictures fast." It's unclear if the shark was put back into the water, or if it was taken in.

Also unclear is if the fish was indeed a great white shark. While the title of the video says "Fisherman Catches a Juvenile Great White Shark on Huntington Beach Pier," Hughan notes that great whites are easily confused with bull sharks, which aren't protected.

The Times says that lifeguards believe the video was taken sometime after 5 p.m. on either February 20 or 21, and that the shark was put back into the ocean.