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Great White Shark Fisherman: "I Didn't Know What Was at the End of the Hook."

Screenshot (YouTube)
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Now that he could be facing charges, the fisherman who reeled in a great white shark off the coast of Huntington Beach has to do something no fisherman wants to do: downplay his catch.

The fisherman, Michael Castillo, is now saying that he had no idea that he was reeling in a protected species.

"I was nervous, excited," Castillo told NBC Los Angeles. "I didn't know what was at the end of the hook."

Castillo points out that even a warden from the Department of Fish and Game thought that it was a mako shark at first. The officer took a few of the shark teeth and looked it up in a book. A few hours later he realized his mistake, and Castillo had to hand over his catch.

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He posted bloody footage of the catch to in a YouTube titled "MAKO OR WHITE SHARK IN HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER????".

Castillo's ignorance may not help his case, according to Belmont Shores-Naples Patch:

The most common defense in these kinds of cases is that the angler didn’t know that the fish in question was protected. Ignorance of the law is a very poor defense as it is every angler’s responsibility to know what he can and cannot keep from our precious seas.

Authorities from the Fish and Game Department are still collecting evidence for the Orange County DA.