Brett Johnson and his dive students were scuba diving off the Cayman Islands last week when they spotted the shark near a hanging reef. It had a large knife sticking out of its head.
“Obviously something wasn’t right and I moved in for a closer look,” the dive instructor told local news station Cayman 27.
The video shows the 3-foot shark with the kitchen knife embedded, swimming around the Caribbean Sea floor at Snapper Reef, off Cayman Brac.
Johnson approached the animal from above.
“At that point, the shark turned around and settled right below me as if asking for help,” he told Cayman 27.
Johnson gently pulled out the knife that he estimated was 12 inches long.
A hole remained in the shark’s head as it swam around, knife-free.
Johnson believes the injured animal was a nurse shark, a slow-moving species that is generally docile and commonly found in the Caribbean. Nurse sharks have strong jaws which they use to eat shellfish and coral, according to National Geographic.
The Cayman Islands banned shark fishing in 2015, which prohibits anyone from taking or harming any species of shark in the region’s reefs. Any person caught violating the ban can face a $500,000 fine and up to four years in prison, according to the Cayman Compass.
That made the sight of the knife-stricken shark all the more concerning for Johnson.
“Sharks are an important part of the ecosystem,” he told the Cayman Compass, adding that local fisherman should be reminded that its illegal to fish for sharks.
Johnson said he’d never seen anything like it before.
“I’d say the customers were shocked,” he told Cayman 27. “People come to Cayman to see our beautiful reefs... no one expects or wants to see a shark with a knife sticking out of its head.”
The Cayman Brac Beach Resort shared some good news about the shark in a Facebook post Friday.
“Fortunately, the shark seems to be doing all right and we even spotted him again swimming around the same reef,” the resort said.
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