NEWPORT BEACH, CA --A beheaded shark was found in pieces in Newport Beach, possibly in violation of the law, according to officials.
Photos of the mutilated shark taken by 16-year-old Clay Kirksey made waves on social media.
Clay went to a shipyard on the Lido Peninsula to clean his family's boat when he stumbled upon the remains of the shark.
"Is it real? Or is it not? It kind of just looked fake for a second, and then I noticed there was a trail of blood coming down from it," Clay recalled.
The teen said four or five middle-aged men put a juvenile shark, cut into three pieces - the head, body, and tail - onto the back of their boat.
Furious, Clay said he took pictures after the men left the pieces on the dock.
"Disrespecting the shark, like they were grabbing the tail and the head and sticking it to their head and stuff. Taking pictures, biting it," Clay described.
Clay and a friend posted the photos to social media, hoping to bring attention to it. It quickly went viral, and was shared with ABC7 using #abc7eyewitness.
The pictures were also shared with the Department of Fish and Wildlife who sent ABC7 the following statement:
"We have received reports of the incident via the online postings and blogs. Fish and Wildlife officers have conducted interviews and begun some follow-up investigation."
Authorities said it's illegal to catch and keep a great white shark, let alone cut it up. The Department of Fish and Wildlife made contact with the men in question, who claimed it was a mako shark, which officials said would not be a violation of the law.
Officials were trying to determine the species of the shark.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife said the minimum penalty for a crime like mutilating a great white shark is a $1,000 fine and or six months in jail.