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Federal Charges Possible As Agents Seize Delaware Fisherman's Great White Shark

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DOVER, Delaware -- A Delaware fisherman could face federal charges after landing what state wildlife officials believe is a great white shark.

Fish and Wildlife enforcement agents on routine patrol Saturday morning boarded a private fishing boat arriving at the North Shore Marina at Indian River Inlet.

Once on board the 33-foot "Little One," owned and captained by Michael Davidson of Frankford, wildlife officers found what they believe to be a juvenile white shark, a species rarely seen in Delaware waters and illegal to possess under federal law.

State officials say the five-and-a-half foot, 179 pound shark was caught about eight miles offshore. It was sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for DNA testing.

If the animal is confirmed as a white shark, Davidson could be prosecuted under federal law for possession of a protected species. Davidson was not carrying a valid permit to fish for highly migratory species such as sharks and tuna in federal waters.

Officials don't think Davidson and his companions landed a great white deliberately, but may have misidentified it as a mako shark.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

38 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

Why don't you "fishermen" bring a fish I.D. book with you that has pictures so you know what you have at the end of your lines? What is going on lately with all of these "record size" killings and now a possible "protected" species killed for NO REASON except for "recreation". Can't you think of anything more productive to do with your spare time than killing these beautiful animals that have been in the ocean long before us? Wake up and realize there won't be any of these awesome fish for our grandkids to learn about if you keep killing them with your "hooks!" Yes, I'm a "Tree Hugger" and proud of it!
   comment# 1   - Ellen · Tavernier, Florida · Jun 7, 2007 @ 11:33pm

Any real fisherman knows the difference, look at the teeth! whites are triangular, makos are spikes
   comment# 2   - bob best · moriches, ny usa · Jun 8, 2007 @ 5:22am

Any "real" fisherman would have released it regardless of the teeth.
   comment# 3   - Steve · Hollywood, FL · Jun 8, 2007 @ 7:32am

What a less than intelligent person. I just wish that these people who go out fishing would just catch and release. And it is not hard to tell the difference between a mako from a great white.
   comment# 4   - Nancy · Maryland · Jun 8, 2007 @ 10:39am

guys with little peckers feel the need to kill big animals.
   comment# 5   - JB · Philadelphia, Pa · Jun 8, 2007 @ 12:06pm

When someone tortures and kills non-game mammals and/or birds, they are charged with animal cruelty. It is disappointing that the same punishment is not doled out to people who torture these sea creatures by hooking them and then pulling on that hook until the fish is either exhausted or overpowered by a gaff before killing them. The same sentiment goes for hiding in a tree to shoot animals for fun.
   comment# 6   - Angel · Earth · Jun 8, 2007 @ 4:21pm

Oh, give me a break! Don't tell me that he didn't go after that Great White deliberately! He obviously wanted the challenge and the hype! Stevie Wonder could tell the difference between a Great White and a Mako!
   comment# 7   - Gypsy · Tacoma, WA · Jun 8, 2007 @ 6:28pm

Give me a break is right, I agree they should have released it after getting it up to the boat AND should be accountable but "torture, cruelty, little peckers, and our grand children won't be able to learn about them. You people must live in a bottled world. Sport fishermen contribute millions of dollars to conservation as do hunters, some even sponser programs such as feed the hungry and give tons of wild game meat and fish for the benefit of many homeless and poverty stricken families every year. Rod and Reel fishing is not going to deplete our oceans of any species of fish. The manufacturing of the components making up your monitor, modem and keypad has killed and is killing countless numbers of fish and wildlife and has caused adverse affects on our planet by polluting our oceans and our waterways with their chemical refineries wastes and by products. Commercial fisheries, mostly oversea companies are wasting millions of tons of fish of all types every year.But you are buying and using computers, tv's ,plastics,vinyl products and will continue, they are necessities, right, and you'll probably eat out at a seafood restaraunt once in awhile or buy seafood from a store or a market. Every one can self justify, live and let live, go fishing it's great family sport and fun, obey the laws or be punished, sponser conservation it's for everyones benefit, don't judge because it's not your cup of tea. You might of helped fund this guy, a 33 ft boat cos
   comment# 8   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 8, 2007 @ 11:49pm

Hooper drives the boat chief ! here's to swimmin' with bow legged women !!
   comment# 9   - Dan · New Castle U.S.A. · Jun 10, 2007 @ 9:59pm

It's just a fish, those of us who think that REAL PEOPLE are just as important as some fish think those guys should be let go. Not the fish. Well some of them. But you people are all obsessed, thank god our ancestors didn't give to much a damn or we would not even be here. But some body has to be you, don't they. Get a life! "I mean that includes the rest of humanity!
   comment# 10   - hunter gather · Beverly Hills · Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:03pm

The Great White Shark thrives in the World's Oceans! It is a lot of Political bunk regarding their rarity. The Great White is rarely seen just about anywhere except Australia and South Africa, but there are far more than we need around the East Coast of the USA. This is a money making game protecting the sharks. They are ugly as a slug with man-eating teeth! They readily eat people, and their numbers should be controlled to a minimum.
   comment# 11   - Monte Petersen · Greenwich, CT USA · Jun 12, 2007 @ 9:12am

Great post by Robert Rolin. I enjoy fishing tremendously but am totally against hunting animals. Everyone has their hobby, just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it wrong.
   comment# 12   - Don · Virginia · Jun 13, 2007 @ 6:14am

I will say this much, a so called experienced fisher man who claims he thought it was a Mako needs to hang up his fishing gear for life. Bottom line is, he knew what he caught & to come out with an out right lie of misidentification is laughable. This guy thought he was going to get away with it & got caught period ! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to distinguish the differences between a Great White & a Mako. Throw the book at him, lock him up & throw away the key. Not for catching the shark but, for lying through his friggn' teeth. What a disgraceful liar that man is. Great Whites are important in the ocean because they weed out the sick & injured. If you kill them off you'll have an explosion of over population of other marine species which in turn, can wipe out there food supply & so on. So, hunter made the comment that it's just a fish & i say, your absolutely right ! But, it's a fish we do need in the Ocean to keep over population of other species in check. Ha hunter, you thought i was gonna side with you didn't you ? LOL, and the other poster that says Great Whites aren't rare but a money market game by the Feds needs to have that head examined. I have news for you, they are rare so, get your facts straight & for that matter, give us proof that it's just a money market game being run ? I would appreciate documentation on that from your obviously good sources.. I think it's safe to say you can't produce a
   comment# 13   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 13, 2007 @ 11:19pm

I agree with "Hooper" Dan, this man broke the Law and should be dealt with. But Lock him up, throw away the key? They don't do that for people raping 2 year old babies. NOW Your sounding like the other tree huggin fanatics living in la la land. A Stiff fine, revoke fishing and captains licences this seems more reasonable, when you start flying off to extremes, you really lose credibility. Great whites are important to the marine eco system as are all species, the bottom line is they are protected by the law. And the Hooper bit was classic btw.
   comment# 14   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 14, 2007 @ 8:41pm

   comment# 15   - GEOFF · MCKENNA WASHINGTON · Jun 15, 2007 @ 10:37am

Just one more of the oceans greatest predators dead!!!!! I just wanna know "WHAT THE F_ _ _ FOR" ??? PURE HUMAN IGNORANCE !!!
   comment# 16   - mark h. · u.s.a. · Jun 15, 2007 @ 7:16pm

Robert, if you noticed i said lock him up & throw away the key not for killing the shark but, by lying about it. Also, i was saying it in jest, of course he shouldn't be locked up for catching it lol. Not sure why people can't distinguish between sincerity or jokingly ! obviously i said it as a joke. The man should be fined the max though, I never could stand a liar !! Better get that check book & pen out oh great & noble White Shark killer because it looks like your in for fine city. Where is Perry Mason when the fisherman needs him ? lol Again, just to make myself perfectly clear, I was only kidding about throwing him in jail. I figure I better state that again before another person takes me serious. Unbelievable !!
   comment# 17   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 15, 2007 @ 9:32pm

Robert, i'm glad you enjoyed the Hooper comment. Always nice to know someone appreciates a great movie quote lol
   comment# 18   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 15, 2007 @ 9:33pm

I agree with Mark, it's total human ignorance at it's best. What surprises me is how alot of people make the statement that it's just a fish & why should we care if they are killed off ? I believe most people of intelligence understand the need for Great Whites to continue to patrol the seas is of the utmost importance. It's a shame this fisherman had to create all this news & back lashing because of his greed & pride to land the Grand Daddy of ocean predators. Suck up your pride Mr. fisherman & tell everybody the truth !! That you knew all along what you had & that it made you feel like King of the Ocean for a day. You worthless loser....
   comment# 19   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 16, 2007 @ 8:27pm

If you noticed in the story, this guy didn't even have a permit for catching any migratory fish or shark in federal waters. I doubt he was fishing for the Great White, as they pointed out it is rare in those waters. He was illegal just for fishing for any shark and seeing how he owns and operates this 33 ft boat which we all know costs a few pennies, he must be fined more then a few himself. I still stand by sport fishing but as in all areas of life there is always idiots whom make everyone in that particular area look bad. This is a bad example of it. I SAY "GOOD Show "to the Fish & Wildlife agents.
   comment# 20   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 17, 2007 @ 9:26pm

i am from minnesota and can tell the difference btwn a great white and a mako.. this clown should hook up with that dude from wisconsin who shot the hunter off of a 4wheeler and said he thought it was a deer.. they would have some great stores to tell around the campfire. wouldn't the hook and line have to be pretty big to bring in a shark?? so he knew he was fishing for sharks.. that he didnt have a license for.. so if he did catch one he should've done the smart thing and let it go.. so instead, hit him the max fines possible
   comment# 21   - sarge · mpls, mn · Jun 18, 2007 @ 9:16am

I understand that there are plenty of people out there that don't undestand the joy of sportfishing and the good times that can be had with family nad friends while participating in it. Its also a great way to teach our youth to respect wildlife including fish and other marine life. But to say its cruel and ahould be banned altogether your really of you're rocking chairs. Sportfishing accounts for les then 5% of the worls total harvest of aquatic meat and food. Yet they contribute over 70% of fundds for the protection of marine species and freshwater apecies. We do our part. Fine the guy, and to those of you tree huggers find a better target like OmegaOne who depleates the Atlantic of millions of tons of menhaden and other fish for your precious vitamins every year with no regulations.
   comment# 22   - Brian McCrady · Crofton, MD · Jun 20, 2007 @ 9:27pm

To me it's a really simple thing to do, if you catch a Great White, release it ! I can't understand why that is such a hard concept to hammer home to people. The thing that irks me is this guy is a so-called experienced fisherman & he doesn't throw it back ? I smell a man that wants his name in lights, problem is, he made headlines but, for all the wrong reasons. He should be fined on stupidity alone. Too bad the Great White didn't catch him, i think the Shark would have thrown him back into the boat to avoid a fine of landing a protective human species lol In the future, please use common sense when landing the King of the Ocean. Just throw it back for crying out loud, get a picture of you catching it so, you won't have to worry about people thinking your lying about the 1 that got away.. And remember, fibbing will get you no where lol
   comment# 23   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 21, 2007 @ 8:16pm

"Thats bold talk for a one eyed fat man" Keep on fishing it's a great family sport
   comment# 24   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 22, 2007 @ 3:43pm

Don't know if the man who caught this shark knew it was a great white or not. He should be punished though he should have read the fishing regulations for the area he was fishing. Bottom line ignorance of the law is not an excuse. I belive a fishing license revocation a stiff fine and comunity service for an outfit that protects these sharks are in order.
   comment# 25   - Bubba · USA · Jun 23, 2007 @ 12:13pm

Oh but Don't ya know we are the Kings of the ocean lads. The whiteys are protected by law, so they should be released, but I tell you ol' boys it's not as easy as one might think to tell the difference between a small white and a mako, as the white grows, well then theres no denying it. Unless you expect to catch a white up in those waters this mistake is possible but the ol' bugger wasn't properly papered anyway so he was breaking the ol' pokey wide open by fishing for any shark.
   comment# 26   - Captain Ron · South Padre Island, Texas · Jun 28, 2007 @ 8:24am

Ron, I have to disagree with you as far as being able to identify the difference between a young Mako & a young Great White. A person has to be utterly nuts if they can't distinguish between the two at a young age ( no offense to you ) If it were a couple of kids fishing maybe i could buy into your theory a little more but, this man is supposed to be an experienced fisherman. All he had to do was bring out the old identification book & he would have known ( i'm not buying his lies ) what he had. When your fishing in the open ocean there is always that chance you can hook a White Shark so, there is no excuse for the man acting like an less than intelligent person by saying it was a Mako ! Bottom line, he got caught when he thought he was going to get away with it & now he faces stiff fines. If he can't tell the difference between the two he might as well hang up his fishing gear and retire from fishing. I can't believe a few people actually give the man the benefit of the doubt by claiming it's hard to tell the difference between the two sharks at a young age. That is bull & you know it. they are very easily identified and to throw that nonsense on here is laughable. I wonder if Captain Ron is really the guy this subject has been all about ?? lol I might have to give it some serious thought lol
   comment# 27   - Dan · New Castle · Jun 29, 2007 @ 10:34am

It seems to a unanimous conscensus here, the man is guilty as charged. If you're not sure what you got, and if it is legal to posess or not, let it go. But if you can afford a 33ft boat, then standard safety regulations set, a shore to shore radio is on board. He could have called authorities, they would come out to meet him. So they can confirm his catch and make study notation for research as well. Hell, 8 miles from shore, your cell phone still works. The bottom line is, the man is guilty as charged. I guess he won't be fishing for a while, at least not on a boat.
   comment# 28   - Sam · Falls Church, VA · Jun 30, 2007 @ 10:52am

Dan, ol'chum, have you ever seen a young 3ft to 5ft pointer up close or a mako shark in the same size range. I have had the pleasure of catching and releasing both of these spectacular fish and other species of sharks.At this size their teeth snout and even their color are similuar and when you pull them from the depths plus the excitement on the boat and if your thinkin mako. NOW you probably are right about this bloke lying and an experienced Fishermen should have been able to know the difference . He didn't have a licence to fish for either anyway so he had no business keeping any shark. Dan, has a female broken your heart? you sure don't patty to liars. lol I have had to pull the ol book out a few times in my many moons of trolling the seas to make sure I knew what I was looking at. Well there she blows,,,,,,
   comment# 29   - Captain Ron · South Padre Island, Texas · Jul 1, 2007 @ 11:14am

All I got to say is, if fish and wildlife sent for DNA testing than I guess they could'nt 100 % identify. Why should the captain be fined, if they did not know for sure!!!
   comment# 30   - corey · wyomissing pa · Jul 13, 2007 @ 11:04am

It all comes down to this....what they did was wrong! No excuses, if they did not have the paper...well you should have not landed it! On land or the seas...poaching is what we call it. I have spent 44 years in the deep....I can say with pride I never have nor will I ever disrespect the laws made for the species of this wonder.... we call the sea! We all need to stop taking for granted what we have below us....someday my friends with men like this around, IT WILL VANISH and so will we! I have had numerous whitey's and makos on line.....6' and under look similar...get out the book! Better yet....let him go if you don't know what you caught...sounds to me like common sense is gone! Take the Boat...his papers and retire him to the pier with only a stick!
   comment# 31   - Pirate Willy · Lewes, DE · Jul 15, 2007 @ 9:08am

That's right Get out the book, WELL in this case he shouldn't have kept any shark he had no license to catch any shark. AY AY Pirate Willy. Keep on fishing it's great family sport
   comment# 32   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska , Texas · Jul 16, 2007 @ 7:17pm

They should throw the book at him. In US waters, the Great White Shark is a PROTECTED SPECIES!!!!
   comment# 33   - Dawn · Illinois USA · Aug 7, 2007 @ 2:57pm

So if it's so easy to tell the difference between the two sharks, then why does the Federal Government need to do DNA testing on the fish before they file charges against the fisherman? I guess if this goes to court then all fishermen should have a scientific lab on board to perform the DNA testing.
   comment# 34   - Big Al · Dallas, TX · Aug 21, 2007 @ 7:20am

you said it big Al.
   comment# 35   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska,Texas · Aug 21, 2007 @ 4:32pm

We heard that this guy knew the fish was a great white and he was bragging about it in the bar; He has been an avid fisherman all of his life and has his captain's license and we believe he did know. We heard that the difference is easy to distinguish and testing is only needed for legal purposes. He's getting off easy!
   comment# 36   - Sara · Lewes, DE · Sep 3, 2007 @ 9:52am

Save the Kittens...
   comment# 37   - Dave · Laurel, Maryland · Jun 17, 2009 @ 4:59am

What a bunch of Dudley Do Right's LOL
   comment# 38   - J · New York, New York · Jan 20, 2012 @ 11:04pm
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