Adam Baugh encountered group of local fishermen hauling in a catch from their fishing nets on Monday (12/28/2012) in Jangamo, Mozambique (35km south of Inhambane). When Baugh, a dive instructor at the Guinjata Resort Dive Centre, saw that the fishermen had caught a large shark, he headed down to the water with his camera. As he got closer to the shark he realized that the fishermen had netted a female great white (Carcharodon carcharias), which he estimated to be approximately 3m in length. According to Baugh’s account the shark was already dead when she was pulled into the beach.
The fisherman who caught the white shark promptly gutted the animal and removed her fins. The rest of the shark carcass was also taken back to the fisherman’s village for its meat. Baugh says the local fishermen set nets daily at low tide about 500m from the shore using nothing but a mask and snorkel. He points out that the nets are indiscriminate and catch all forms of marine life. However, Baugh says that the locals use everything that is caught is used a food source.
Great white sharks are currently listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN red list. Mozambique currently has no laws protecting the species. However, the species is legally protected in neighboring South Africa, which is well-known for it’s white shark populations.
Baugh describes himself as having loved sharks since he was a little boy. While he was deeply saddened by the death of the white shark, he emphasized that the killing of a white shark is not illegal in Mozambique and did not wish for any legal repercussions against the fisherman who caught the shark. He noted that the local fishermen use the sea as a resource to feed and support their families. He believes that education is the key to helping protect species like the white shark and attempted to talk to the fisherman about sharks and sustainability.
Baugh has posthumously given the shark the nickname “Hope” with the intent of using the story of her death to help raise awareness about sustainability of the species not only in Mozambique but worldwide. He is in the process of setting up a volunteer research and conservation program to help prevent similar events from happening in the future.
Special thanks to Adam Baugh for the use of his photos.