Men caught trying to catch stranded shark in Dorset to turn into soup

Chinese men caught trying to catch stranded shark in Dorset to turn into soup

A shark that had become trapped in a tidal storm drain near a marina in Dorset had to be rescued on Tuesday - after two Chinese men were caught trying to catch it make shark fin soup.

The pair were spotted by a coastguard officer in Portland Harbour trying to hook the 4ft smooth-hound shark with mackerel bait, in order to use its fin for eating.

Rob Sansom, who caught the pair in the act, said they freely admitted they just wanted its fin.

He told the Daily Mail: "They were happy to explain what they wanted and I got the impression it was for eating.

"Once I told them I wasn't going to let them chop it off they realised it was about time to leave."

Experts from the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park were called to the scene to help move the shark back to safety.

Jean-Denis Hibbitt, a senior aquarist at the Sea Life Park, told the Mirror: "I was told the men wanted to cut her fin off and leave the body there which you don't expect to hear in Dorset."

He added that they managed to move the "lethargic" and "heavily pregnant" shark to the other side of the road using a stretcher.

Mr Hibbitt told the BBC he was "horrified" to hear of the men's plan, and added: "Happily, the shark swam away to deeper waters where it could soon produce anything between four and 15 offspring.

"No-one need be afraid of them. Few sharks, even of the big tropical species, are actually a danger to people, but certainly our native British species are all perfectly harmless."

A smooth-hound shark can grow up to 5ft 3in, and weigh more than 29lb.

They do not have teeth, and instead use their jaws to crush their prey, like crabs and lobsters.

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