‘Mark the Shark’ speaks out on controversial video with seabird

MIAMI (WSVN) - A local celebrity shark hunter is speaking exclusively to 7News after some called a video of a seabird being shaken an act of animal cruelty on social media. 7’s Brian Entin has the exclusive.

Mark Quartiano, otherwise known as Miami’s “Mark the Shark,” made international headlines for the controversial video of him holding a bird.

“What should I do with you?” Quartiano can be heard saying in the video. “Should we let him go? Thumbs up or thumbs down? What do you think?”

Quartiano posted the video to his Facebook page with the caption, “MERRY XMAS.. TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY! PETA THIS!”

The shark hunter held the bird for about a minute in the video before letting it go.

“You lucky bird,” he said in the video as the bird flies away.

Comments on social media called the act in the video cold and heartless.

Quartiano’s boat was at Sea Isle Marina Thursday, and 7News found him nearby in what he calls his “shark dungeon,” an office crowded with hundreds of shark jaws.

Brian Entin: “How are you doing?”

Mark Quartiano, shark hunter: “I’m OK.”

Brian Entin: “A lot of people are upset about this bird video.”

Mark Quartiano: “Am I going to jail?

Brian Entin: “No jail, but people want to know what is going on with the bird video.”

Mark Quartiano: “The bird video. The bird that I let go? I’m losing 10 IQ points by talking to you right now. This is ridiculous.”

Quartiano said he saved the bird after it ate his bait and got a hook stuck in its stomach during a recent fishing charter.

He said he removed the hook right before taking the video.

Mark Quartiano: “We do this every day. It is a practice every charter boat does. You catch a seagull on the boat, take the hook out, let it go. It’s not a big deal. You are making this a big deal.”

Brian Entin: “People online say it looks like you are strangling the bird.”

Mark Quartiano: “No strangling. Did you see him fly away?”

Quartiano said he was only joking when he was questioning in the video whether or not he would let the bird go.

“It hurts. It feels like the bird is suffering,” said one person reacting to the video. “I don’t like it.”

“There is no need, absolutely no need,” added another. “No need whatsoever. It’s cruel, in my opinion.”

“I guess there’s no benefit. It’s kind of mean,” said another person reacting to the video.

The video sparked outrage, but Quartiano said no one loves animals more than he does, and he said the video doesn’t tell the whole story.

Mark Quartiano: “What I do is the real world. People don’t realize it sitting behind a computer. They don’t even realize what the real world is. Shark Week is not the real world. Out here is the real world. Sometimes you ruffle feathers, no pun intended.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife investigators said they are looking into the video.

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