Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 9:41 AM
— UPDATE July 26 6:32 a.m. -- Officials with the Sarasota Slam fishing tournament announced Tuesday on the event's Facebook page that they have reported to authorities the identities of several individuals captured on video dragging a shark behind a speeding boat.
The video has been viewed nearly 800,000 times on the WFTV Facebook page alone, and has drawn criticism from countless people on social media.
The man piloting the boat in the video can be seen wearing a Sarasota Slam T-shirt, and tournament officials were quick to distance the event from the video and condemn those involved.
"The Sarasota Slam is in no way affiliated with the despicable behavior in the video on social media," tournament organizers wrote on the group's Facebook page. "We do not want to give those individuals any more attention.
"They will be banned from our tournament ... their names were already given to the proper authorities when we learned of the video."
Tournament officials did not immediately respond to a Facebook message seeking comment on the case Tuesday.
Neither the group nor investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have publicly identified the individuals in the video.
The FWC confirmed that an investigation has been opened into the individuals in the video, and where and when it may have been recorded.
Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission confirmed they’re investigating an incident after someone posted video of what appears to be a shark dragged by a boat at a high rate of speed.
But investigators don’t know who posted the video, where the video was shot or what happened to the shark.
A spokesperson for FWC said they are taking the incident very seriously and they’re investigating.
"It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident," the spokesperson said.
It is not clear in the video if the shark was alive while it was being dragged behind the boat, but experts said it would be virtually impossible for the animal to survive behind pulled by the tail at such a high rate of speed.
FWC said they’re attempting to identify the people in the video.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or Tip@MyFWC.com. Individuals can remain anonymous.
It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident.
This is a developing story. Check WFTV.com for updates.