There is a remarkable woman who removes fishing hooks from sharks’ mouths, and her name is Cristina Zenato. She has been diving with sharks for 25 years. She got to work as soon as she realized that many sharks were dragging hooks. Her goal is to remove as many fishing hooks from sharks’ mouths as possible. She has no issue putting her hand in a shark’s mouth if it means it will no longer be in pain.
For the last 25 years, she has been working with Caribbean Reef sharks at Grand Bahama island. She has formed a deep relationship with the sharks and recognizes them by sight. Zenato spends a few hours a day diving with these sharks, forming bonds and removing hooks. She has given the regular sharks unique names like Hook, Crook, Stumpy, Scrunchy, Foggy Eye, and Black Spot.
So far, she has removed over 300 hooks from various sharks. In a viral video, Cristina put her hand inside a shark’s mouth to remove the hook. Since then, the shark comes to her and enjoys being pet by her hero. She said, “I remove hooks from my sharks the same way I want to remove a thorn from my pup’s paw. It is the same desire to alleviate the pain of someone I love.” Zenato also said that the hooks represent her life’s work. “I collect them one at the time, and collectively they change people’s perception of sharks as creatures who can feel, fear, and hurt.”
Her remarkable efforts help ease the pain of many sharks that dwell in our waters. Most anglers do not think of the shark when they accidentally catch it. Instead, they cut the fishing line and don’t think about the pain and discomfort the shark is stuck with. We only wish there were more people like Cristina Zenato who understand the importance of sharks and help remove fishing hooks from sharks’ mouths.