Florida

Boaters identified in shark-dragging video, Florida officials say

The Florida boaters seen in a viral video cruelly dragging a shark at a "high speed" through the water -- prompting outcries of "animal lynching" from some activists -- were identified by officials on Wednesday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed to Fox News the individuals in the video had been identified, but officials would not release their names due to the ongoing investigation.

"It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident," the agency said. "However, the FWC would like to state that the lack of respect shown in this video for our precious natural resources is disheartening and disturbing, and is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world."

The video gained national attention on Tuesday after Miami sport fisherman Mark Quartiano, also known as "Mark the Shark," reposted the video on his Instagram page with the caption: "FOR ONCE I MAY HAVE TO AGREE WITH @PETA."

The 10-second video shows at least three men in the video with smiles on their faces while looking back at the tortured shark. 

"Look, he's almost already dead," one of the men in the video says, though it's unclear if the shark is alive or dead.

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The video garnered thousands of comments within hours from outraged followers, who called on Florida officials and PETA to investigate. 

"How sad is this??? I have a fear of sharks but I would never in my life wanna see one abused and tortured like this!!!!!" one user wrote. 

Another said: "Absolutely disgraceful. Just imagine the other awful life decisions these bozos have made. Throw the book at them."

Another outraged viewer posted: "Thank you so much @marktheshark whoever sent you this video thought they were oh so cool and you'd give props. Instead, you were like this is so uncool & wrong."

FWC launched an investigation shortly after receiving a tip on Monday about the horrifying act. 

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Eric Hovland, the Florida Aquarium's associate curator also told FOX13 Tampa that it made his "stomach flip," and associated the incident with "animal lynching."

"It's flipping and tossing around," Hovland said of the shark in the video. "It looks like it's even been roped by the tail. I mean this just wasn't hooked on a line and accidentally dragged. This was purposeful and tragic."

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