What It’s Like to Rescue a Dusky Shark

Divers Rescue Entangled Dusky Shark In Bahamas

Amanda Cotton

Dusky Shark Rescue

While in Cat Island, Bahamas, these divers helped to free an entangled dusky shark.

Leading a recent shark expedition at Cat Island in the Bahamas, I experienced one of the most extraordinary days in the ocean I’ve ever had.

Diving with silkies and oceanic whitetips, we were horrified to see a large male dusky shark arrive near the boat with a very deep wound around its head. We could see a large rope — presumably discarded fishing gear — tightly wrapped around its neck just behind the gills; one of its pectoral fins was pinned. The shark was incredibly skinny, with a disproportionately huge head on its emaciated body.

Everyone agreed we had to do something. This shark was dying a slow death. But it refused to come in close to the divers.

To our delight, the shark became more comfortable with us as the days progressed — the decision was made that we would attempt to cut of the rope.

Due to safety concerns, we asked our group of divers if they were willing to give up some in-water time so Epic Diving owners Vincent and Debra Canabal and I could attempt this rescue. The group agreed without hesitation and encouraged us to try.

Armed with surgical scissors and cameras, the three of us made our way into the water and were almost im- mediately greeted by the dusky shark, whom we later named Atlas. As it approached Vincent and me, Vincent was able to quickly cut the rope and pull it of Atlas as it rolled, allowing Debra to take photos of the experience. As this happened, the group on the boat erupted in cheers. It was truly a group effort to save this shark, and we were all thrilled to see it swim of, free of the rope.

In the weeks that followed, Atlas returned to Epic Diving’s boat again and again, showing signs of healing and improvement at an astonishing rate.

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