A bloodied, decapitated shark found on a Newport Beach dock last month was a mako shark and its capture was legal, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials said Tuesday.
Photos of the shark sparked outrage when they went viral on social media, with many initial posts indicating the shark was a juvenile great white, which is illegal to catch in California.
However, officials determined through DNA tests and additional specimens obtained from the fisherman who caught the shark that the animal in the photos was a mako, which is legal to catch, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"The fisherman was very cooperative," Hughan said. "He didn't have anything to hide. Could he have used more discretion and not left the head on the [dock]? Maybe, but he didn't break any laws."
Hughan said mako and great white sharks look similar and are often mistaken for each other.
Fry writes for Times Community News.