Rosie O'Donnell responds to controversial shark pictures
UNDATED (WSVN) -- Celebrity star Rosie O'Donnell is being put in the hot seat after she caught a shark on a fishing trip off the South Florida coast several years ago.
Rosie O'Donnell and her family were out fishing with charter boat captain Mark "the Shark" Quartiano off the coast of Miami Beach several years ago. "Rosie and I had been fishing for years and years, and we caught quiet a lot of big fish including hammerheads, sail fish, a number of different species of fish. She's a great angler," said Quartiano.
Controversy is now sparking up because of Florida's new law which took effect at the start of 2012. It is now illegal to kill hammerheads and tiger sharks in the state.
O'Donnell defends her catch and said it was not a recent trip. She took it to Twitter by saying: "The photo was taken years ago. Yes, my family fishes off our dock and a few times with Mark. He is a close friend - great guy."
Quartiano, who has also fished with actors like Will Smith and former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, is surprised by all the talks the photos are getting. "I've been doing it for 40 years, and you're gonna have conservation people saying whatever they want, but the bottom line is I'm one guy using one rod, sometimes one bait," he said. "There's metric tons of sharks being killed daily right outside of our coast. You're targeting the wrong guy by coming after me, killing one shark a week. It doesn't make any sense. You gotta put it all in perspective."
Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission spokesperson Carli Segelson said as scary as they may seem, these sharks need our help because their numbers are declining drastically. "They're the top predator. They're very important to have those out there, keeps everything in check, and you don't have any one particular species exploding because they don't have a predator," she said.
While no one is accusing O'Donnell of illegal activity, they said a celebrity known for her philanthropic work should have been aware of the conservation implications of her actions.
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