BRADENTON, FL — A Bradenton man will serve 10 days in jail and must give up his Florida fishing license for three years for his part in a cruel 2017 shark-dragging incident that was captured on video.
Robert Benac must also pay a $2,500 fine and serve 250 hours of community service, according to Officer Brian Norris of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“As we’ve said since this video and other images came to light, these actions have no place in Florida, where we treasure and conserve our fish and wildlife for everyone,” explained Col. Curtis Brown, director of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement.
“We hope the disposition on this case sends a strong message that this kind of behavior is not tolerated,”added Brown.
See also: Video Of Florida Shark Being Dragged Draws Outrage and Shark Video Apology: Man Calls Himself ‘Conservationist’
Benac was charged along with Michael Wenzel and Spencer Heintz, both of Palmetto, Florida.
During the course of the investigation, FWC officers conducted research into each man’s social media activity, conducted numerous interviews and spoke with a number of experts on sharks.
The charges against Heintz were later dropped.
Wenzel was later sentenced to 10 days in jail less one day for time previously served.
Shark hunter Mark “The Shark” Quartiano told Patch at the time of the incident that he was disgusted when someone sent him the “evil” video that appeared to capture a power boat dragging a 6-foot black tipped shark to its death.
Three men could be seen in the video smiling and laughing as the animal flipped and rolled through the high-speed jaunt at the end of a rope.
“I’ve killed more sharks than anyone in the world,” Quartiano said at the time. “I was horrified to see something like this happening this day and age. I just couldn’t believe it. I’ve killed tens of thousands of sharks but never tortured one.”
Quartiano said that the video was sent to him through social media, ostensibly for his “blessing” as a prominent shark hunter.
Investigators identified the men in the shark-dragging video early on but withheld their names pending the results of the investigation, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Investigators received “numerous additional images and videos” from the public, which became part of the investigation.
Watch the shark-dragging video below:
CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WTF IS GOING ON HERE ???? JUST GOT THIS ON MY FEED ! SENT FROM @bearjew428 AND @MICHAELWENZEL .FOR ONCE I MAY HAVE TO AGREE WITH @PETA. #WHODOESTHISSHIT #sowrong #notcool
A post shared by THE SHARK HUNTER (@marktheshark) on Jul 24, 2017 at 10:20am PDT
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