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Nigel Farage attacked for catching protected-species shark

'You're equivalent to one of those guys sitting on top of the lion he's just shot'

Jane Dalton
Monday 09 July 2018 18:07 BST
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Farage tweeted the photo of himself holding the fish, which is classed as vulnerable to extinction
Farage tweeted the photo of himself holding the fish, which is classed as vulnerable to extinction (Twitter)

Former Ukip leader 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.”

You must feel like such a big man catching something that’s struggling to survive.

BJF PR

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.”

Peter Simms said that being interested in fishing and fishermen’s rights, Mr Farage should know it was a protected species.

Joss Lyons-White added: “Not satisfied with having destroyed the United Kingdom, Nigel Farage sets about trying to destroy the natural world too.”

The Independent has contacted Mr Farage’s office for comment, but none had arrived at the time of publication.

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