This video shows the incredible moment a wounded lemon shark kept bumping into a diver in an apparent plea for help, off the coast of Jupiter, Florida.
Diver Josh Eccles told local ABC News station WPBF that he was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean last week when he encountered the shark. It kept nudging him more than usual, which made Eccles wonder if something was wrong.
“Every time it swam by me, it would bump into me a little more,” Eccles said.
The experienced diver said he was used to swimming around lemon sharks in the area and was familiar with their behavior, and this seemed out of the ordinary.
Eventually he approached the animal, which showed the diver his belly.
“I noticed something, so I started to poke at it,” Eccles said. After another attempt, he removed sizable hook from the shark’s torso.
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Lemon sharks are not usually threatening to humans and have been involved in only a few attacks on humans, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They feed at night, Florida’s Museum of Natural History states, so contact with humans is fairly limited.
They are, however, hunted because their fins are widely prized and exported to Asia. They’re used for shark fin soup, a delicacy that activists are pushing for restaurants, airlines and other food vendors in the region to ban.
Conservation group WildAid estimates that 73 million sharks are hunted each year for their fins. The shark fin trade is considered the biggest threat to worldwide shark populations.
Eccles told reporters that he was unsure how the hook got stuck in the shark, but he hoped his assistance helped to save the animal’s life.