Fishermen have saved the life of a shark that was being strangled to death – by a piece of discarded PLASTIC.
The 5ft porbeagle is thought to have had the plastic strapping caught around its gills for several years.
As it grew to adult size the plastic became restrictive, and started cutting through the sharks thick skin.
But the stricken fish was saved when it was hooked by a group of friends out fishing near Lands End, Cornwall.
The friends, including Sam Narbett, 40, managed to pull the 80lb creature onboard and cut away the plastic.
Sam, owner of St Ives Fishing Trips, said: “It is not uncommon to see fish wrapped up in plastic. This had clearly been on the porbeagle for a few years. It had grown through the underbelly.
“We got the shark onto the boat. We could see the plastic right around the fish, right under its skin and right around its gills.
“It was like a box strap – the kind of tough plastic you get wrapped around delivery boxes and pallets. We cut it off straight away and then we realised it was not just around the fish, it was through its skin.
“We had to pull it through its body and then freed it and released it back in the water and the fish swam off happily.
“These are very tough fish. They are very hardy, but that fish probably would have died because it would have got infected eventually.”
There is a big influx of sharks in Cornish waters in the winter and many recreational anglers travel to Cornwall for organised fishing trips to catch the fish.
The young adult shark was one of four porbeagles caught by the group off the north Cornwall coast on Wednesday. The other fish were unhooked alongside the boat and put back in the water.
The Shark Angling Club of Great Britain praised Mr Narbett and his friends for helping the shark, in a post on Facebook.
They wrote: “The increasing amount of plastics and their impact has been championed by many people and organisations over the years.
“Most recently these have included Sky News and Blue Planet 2 .
“Today Sam Narbett caught and released a porbeagle which would have certainly died had he not cut away the plastic banding strip which had tightened around its body.
“A reminder that we should be supportive of those who campaign for the responsible disposal of plastics. Well done Sam.”