Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark (Photo)

Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark (Photo)
Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark (Photo)
Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark (Photo)
Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark (Photo)

Nigel Farage has been criticised for catching a protected-species shark.

The Eurosceptic MEP posted a picture of himself on Twitter with a 4ft tope shark on his knees over the weekend.

“Depressed over Brexit. Went fishing,” he wrote above the image of him smiling.

Both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and The Shark Trust charity have confirmed the creature was a tope shark.

Classed by the (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction, the creatures are under threat from overfishing, trawling and development such as underwater cables in its habitats, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

After Mr Farage posted the image, pressure group The Blue Planet Society responded that it was “depressed over people catching IUCN Red List-threatened tope sharks and using them to get attention on social media”.

The creatures are protected in England, Scotland and Wales. Any caught by anglers must be returned alive while commercial fishermen cannot deliberately target them.

The Shark Trust warned the fish had protection and must be released back into the wild. They asked whether Mr Farage had done so on social media, but he did not reply.

Others warned that unless he had put it back he was committing a criminal offence. Some called for him to be prosecuted anyway.

As the photo was widely shared on social, other Twitter users mocked and condemned the former Ukip leader.

Megan McCubbin said the picture made her ashamed to live in a country where politicians show “such blatant disregard for the environment”.

Rory Burke told Mr Farage he was “as bad as big-game hunters”.

Georgina Barratt agreed, saying Mr Farage was “equivalent to one of those guys sitting on top of the lion he’s just shot”.

“Even if the tope goes back in the water, it’s suffered massive stress and energy loss and may not survive/thrive.”

Denise Cook joked: “Pity it wasn’t bigger – it might have eaten him and saved us a lot of grief. Claire Firth said she hoped a great white shark jumped out and ate Mr Farage.”

And Tom Fitton wrote: “Tope are not allowed to be brought to land. That means removing the hook from its mouth immediately and returning it to sea, so that it has the best chance of survival, not suffocating it in 30-degree heat while posing for photos.”

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