Video of great white shark attacking film crew sparks controversy

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015
A great white shark attacked a dinghy occupied by two film crew members during filming for "Lair of the Megashark" in 2014.
creativeContent-Discovery/YouTube via ABC News

Video footage of two film crew members being attacked by a great white shark is now being used by anti cage-diving activists to highlight their argument against interfering with the animals.

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The two crew members were aboard a small inflatable raft connected to a larger boat, trying to attach a camera to a great white to find their feeding grounds. Suddenly, one of sharks lunged at the crew, and tried to bite off the rope connecting the two boats.

"I don't think this is such a brilliant f****** idea you know," a voice can be heard saying. "I don't think we can have a boat in there. I really don't."

According to ABC News, shark activist groups in New Zealand are using the video -- which aired as part of the Discovery Channel documentary Lair of the Megashark -- to argue that humans frequently interacting with the dangerous creatures are making sharks comfortable around boats and humans.

Fisherman Richard Squires told the New Zealand Herald that he was attacked by sharks recently, and believes the sharks are getting more comfortable around boats because of cage diving.

"We've been attacked twice," Squires said. "A shark came up and bit a buoy on the stern of the vessel, it came charging out of the water with its mouth open."

New Zealand's First Members of Parliament Clayton Mitchell and Winston went to a public meeting about the shark problem last week.

"We are calling on the government to put a moratorium on this and actually do a comprehensive study on what the impact [of cage diving] is," Mitchell said. "When you start bringing the sharks in close to your boat for the thrill-seekers, like any animal, their behavior becomes modified."

The shark attack incident occurred over a year ago, with Discovery Channel featuring the footage as part of the Lair of the Megashark documentary last August.

This is not the first time Discovery Channel has run into controversy over its coverage of sharks. In 2013, the cable network aired the fictional documentary Megalodon: The Monster Shark That Lives as park of Shark Week, which alleged that the extinct, prehistoric shark was still alive.