A scuba diving instructor was leading a group of tourists on a dive off Cayman Brac when he made the bizarre discovery of a shark with a kitchen knife sticking out of its head.
Brett Johnson coolly swam down and removed the knife from the shark, which appears to have survived the ordeal.
The incident has sparked new concern about treatment of sharks, which are a protected species in the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Johnson, 30, who works for Reef Divers, said it was an upsetting sight. He said he had been leading the dive group on Snapper Reef on Monday when he spotted the nurse shark lying in the sand.
“At first it looked like it was just sleeping as most nurse sharks usually are, but then we noticed something coming out of its head.
“I can’t say what happened or why it ended up getting knifed in the head, but fortunately it came out easy enough and the shark seems to be doing all right. It was seen again on Wednesday swimming around the same reef.”
He said the incident was concerning.
“Sharks are an important part of the ecosystem and there is no reason to kill them.”
Sharks have been protected in the Cayman Islands since 2015 when the relevant section of the National Conservation Law came into force.
Mr. Johnson believes the incident shows some fishermen could use a reminder of the new rules.
“It would be great it all public docks and boat launches had signs posted on them reminding the public that it is illegal to take sharks from Cayman waters,” he said.