An Australian man was slapped with a hefty fine after a court found him guilty of beating a great white shark to death.
The 40-year-old man was convicted of harming a threatened species and was fined more than $18,000 for the brutal act, according to a statement released by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries. He appeared before a local court in the southeastern state last week.
"This conviction sends a strong message that harming of our threatened species will not be tolerated," Glenn Tritton, the department's director of fisheries compliance, said in the statement. "Everyone needs to know the rules and ignorance is no excuse."
(Warning: Some readers may find the photo below disturbing.)
Sky News Australia identified the man who brutally beat the great white in January 2012 as Justin Adam Clark. The Australian fisherman first hit the shark with his boat several times before another vessel towed it to shallow waters in the Sussex Inlet, the report notes. He then proceeded to bludgeon the juvenile shark in the head with a metal pole as bystanders looked on.
A photo of the dead great white shark was released by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
In its ruling, the court ordered the man pay a fine of $8,000 in addition to court and witness costs totaling $10,103. The other boat owner who towed the great white shark to shore was handed a six-month good behavior bond.
Great white sharks are listed as a threatened species in New South Wales. It is illegal to catch, possess or harm them. The sharks are also granted protections in national waters since they are recognized as a vulnerable and migratory species throughout Australia. However, Western Australia has been granted an exemption, and fisherman can hunt the protested species under the state's controversial shark culling program.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the great white as a vulnerable species.
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