Shark Caught on Spanish Beach
MADRID, Spain — Biologists caught a 7-foot-long shark that had become a tourist attraction by making daily incursions into knee-high water on a Spanish beach, wrestling it with their bare hands and dragging it ashore.
But the rescue effort may have been for naught because the shark was very ill and may not survive, a biologist said.
The 200-pound sandbar shark _ not generally associated with attacks on humans _ first showed up early last week at a beach called Miracle in northeast Tarragona province, forcing authorities to close off the water to bathers.
The fish turned into a novelty by swimming regularly into plain view in very shallow water. Bathers gathered daily to snap photos. Police fined several people who ventured into the water to splash around with it.
A team of three biologists from the Barcelona Aquarium waded in Monday and, after two failed attempts before a crowd of hundreds, finally managed to capture the flailing shark with their hands. They quickly stuck its snout into a net to keep it from biting.
Two of the rescuers were slightly injured with cuts and scratches from the shark's fins.
The team put the fish into a tank and trucked it for a police-escorted ride to the aquarium and a medical checkup. The idea was to return the shark to the open sea if it was found to be healthy.
But its dorsal fin was punctured by a harpoon _ possibly from someone at Miracle beach _ and the shark has some kind of internal problem, maybe from swallowing an object, said Patrici Bulto, chief biologist at the aquarium.
The shark has stopped swimming, so divers were pushing it through the water _ essential to keeping it alive because sharks' respiratory system has no mechanism for pumping water through their gills and they need to move constantly in order to breathe.
"We are not optimistic at all," Bulto told a news conference.
(This version corrects shark's weight to 200 pounds, not 110.)