WESTERN CAPE (SOUTH AFRICA)- Last week, a man was found guilty of catching and landing a great white shark. The Mossel Bay Magistrate’s Court decided: either twelve months in prison, suspended for five years or 120.000 Rand.

The verdict was welcomed by the national Department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries on Monday.

Angler Leon Bekker apparently caught and landed the great white shark – a protected species – in March last year. Photos of the catch caused protest over the internet. And Bekker was identified as the culprit.

This case is the first great white shark case and conviction in any South African court, as South Africa is also the first country to impose legislation in protecting great white sharks, was the official reaction by the Department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

was sentenced to either a fine of R120,000 or twelve months imprisonment, , said agriculture, forestry and fisheries spokesman Lionel Adendorf.

The department hoped the sentence would deter others from catching protected species.