THE man who caught a protected great white shark in Mossel Bay says he did not know the animal was a great white when he hooked it while sport fishing.
He also says he did not haul it onto the rocks to pose with it for photographs – insisting that the shark had been washed onto the rocks by waves.
Through tip-offs from the public, the Cape Times traced the angler, Leon Bekker, who lives in George.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Bekker said: “The water washed it up. I’m not that strong.”
Asked why he had not cut it loose after he had hooked it, as required by law, he said: “I’m a beginner at this (sport fishing). I didn’t know it was a great white. I’ve been doing this for a year only. I normally do take hooks out.”
The Cape Times was sent a sequence of photographs which show Bekker, with another man, hauling the great white onto the rocks.
One of them shows Bekker being handed a tape measure to measure the shark’s length.
Bekker denies that he was trophy hunting or that he was giving a thumbs up sign while posing next to the great white, which was still alive.
“That was not thumbs up. That was to show a greeting: ‘hosh, my broer’ (howzit my brother.) That’s how we greet in the Western Cape.
Read the full story in the print edition of the Cape Times