By Josh Saunders
Heart-breaking footage shows shark struggling to swim and eat after having its jaw impaled by a hook and line twice its size.
Far from the typical majesty and equally unnerving appearance of a blue shark, this sorrowful sight shows the real impact of humans upon aquatic life.
The 2.5 metre shark was filmed five miles off the coast of Pico Island, Portugal, battling with every movement due to the hook deeply embedded in its right cheek.
Stefano Ulivi, 42, from Florence, Italy, was working as a dive master when he encountered the shark three-months-ago and initially believed it had prey caught in its mouth.
But after closer inspection, it was battling with the line that was twice its size and slowly ensnaring its body, making it difficult for the sea creature to eat.
Scientifically named Prionace glauca its estimated between 10 and 20 million are killed each year as a bycatch for fishermen or while being reeled in for sport.
Stefano said: “At one point, during a normal dive with the sharks, it appeared immediately that one of the sharks seemed to be acting strangely.
“He seemed to have a prey in his mouth and was swimming weirdly.
“As soon as we approached we could see that it was not a prey but a long line with a huge hook inserted into his mouth.
“The shark was struggling every single movement.
“Immediately my smile, my excitement to be in the water with these majestic creatures turned into a grimace of sadness, seeing the creature fighting with every movement.
“The line was twice the length of it body and was always twisted somewhere, with the hook slowly opening a big hole in it mouth.
“The shark was fighting to swim and to swallow every bite of chum.
“Unfortunately, it is increasingly common to see animals with signs of humans on them.”
Stefano believes the hook and bait were deliberately set to catch a shark.
He said: “The piece of line that the shark had in the mouth was the final piece of a long line, the fishing method used by these parts.
“It was 1,000 meters long with a hook and a bait every 10 meters, usually used for swordfish and tuna fish.
“Unfortunately during winter, the tuna hunt is closed and the fishermen found in the sharks, a new form of income.
“The price of 1Kg of shark beef is so low, 0.31 cents the last time.”
Stefano believes there are misconceptions around sharks and that people should not be afraid of going on dives to see their beauty.
He added: “If you are an adrenaline lover, you must definitely do this experience.
“The fact that people are scared by sharks is because they saw the movie.
“If only they found the courage to go into the water with some of them, they would immediately realize the opposite.
“They are extraordinary animals, beautiful and especially not dangerous.”