Should A Large Hook Be Removed By Hand From A Shark’s Mouth?

Should A Large Hook Be Removed By Hand From A Shark's Mouth? (Photo credit: Cassie Jensen)

So let’s say you’re diving among sharks in the Caribbean and you come across one with a big, honking hook stuck in its mouth. Should you give it a hand and take it out?

A group of divers recently dealt with just such a situation off the Florida coast. As National Geographic describes it, a lemon shark had a hook in its mouth and one of the divers caressed the fish’s nose to keep it calm and took the hook out.

While their intentions were good, University of Florida shark scientist George Burgess doesn’t think that was such a great idea. As he told National Geographic:

“The fact of the matter is there’s a decent chance you can get bitten, and the reality is sharks are pretty tough critters, so a hook in the mouth isn’t a problem for them. It will eventually rust out on its own, so poses no danger to the shark.”

What would you do? Check out the original National Geographic article here (which has some pretty cool photos taken by underwater shutterbug Cassie Jensen, including the one above) and leave a comment below.

View Comments

  • Maybe it's more of a question of how much damage is done to the marine life in question. Sharks are tough, but how about turtles or, as I saw a few weeks ago, medium sized snappers? Could do more harm than good - barbed hooks.

  • If they were able and daring enough to pull the hook out, then hell ya. An amazing inter-species interaction. If it hurt the shark too much, for sure the diver would be sorry they tried it.

  • I can't believe that they even asked the Question. If anyone thinks this was a good idea , they need their head examined. Darwin Award winners !