Baby shark apparently killed by spear; diver calls death ‘senseless’


Photos by Deron Verbeck | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton
Hawaii 24/7 Editor

An experienced waterman said he was angered to find someone apparently speared a baby shark last weekend and left its carcass floating on the reef off Kona Village Resort.

Deron Verbeck said he was spearfishing with a friend Thursday, May 3 along the outside ledge of the reef directly off the Kona Village Resort shore when they spotted the dead shark.

“I had my speargun at the time because we were trying to get fish for a party and I abandoned my gun to swim back to the boat to get my camera,” he said. “It was like a crime scene investigation.”

Verbeck said he checked the shark – which he identified as a very young male white tip – for clues as to what might have killed it.

“Well, as you can see there was,” he said. “A hole from a spear shaft that I could put my finger in on the top of the shark.”

Verbeck said he was stunned to think someone would deliberately spear the animal.

“Now who and why would one do that? It couldn’t have been a threat. These sharks are like the puppy dogs of the reef,” he said. “So whoever shot him did it just because it was a shark.”

Verbeck, a national freediving record holder and long-time waterman, said he is disappointed to think a fellow spearfisherman could have such little respect for the ocean and its inhabitants.

He said he has never seen anything like it.

“No, never, not somebody just killing because it’s a shark. It’s senseless,” he said. “This shark was so small – not even 2 1/2 feet long. Either somebody was shooting for fun or they were afraid of it. But they are close to harmless and the likelihood of it attacking you is slim.”

Just minutes before stumbling onto the carcass, Verbeck said a 7- to 8-foot pregnant white tip swam alongside him and his friend.

“There was no danger,” he said. “(White tips) are very easy to approach and apparently very easy targets.”

Although there is no law against killed sharks, Verbeck said he has a message for the spearfisherman and anyone who enters the ocean.

“I just want people to be more respectful of wildlife,” he said. “There’s no excuse no to be.”

— Find out more:
web.mac.com/iamaquatic/iamaqua…

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