Shoppers visiting the Publix in Fort Lauderdale had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a five-foot nurse shark on Thursday, courtesy of one man outside the store. It is once-in-lifetime mainly because it is illegal, and Patrick Lanier, the would-be shark salesman, said he learned his lesson. According to WSVN, Lanier had caught the predator on a rod and reel in the Intracoastal Waterway. It was his first time catching a shark and unsure of what to do with it, he decided to try and sell it outside of a local supermarket.
“I felt like a leprechaun, like I struck gold,” he told WSVN.
Instead of keeping the shark on ice, Lanier instead just laid in on the ground and hawked it to passing shoppers. His asking price? A cool $100 bucks. Strangely enough, nobody took him up on his offer to buy a writhing, uncomfortable shark struggling to stay alive. Lanier told reporters that he would douse it in water every so often when it got too dry.
You can see a video of the shark below:
In the end, angry shoppers informed him that what he was doing was illegal and Lanier closed up shop. With some prodding from the Publix managers, Lanier was convinced to release the fish—which was remarkably still alive—back into the Intracoastal.
Lanier said he knows better now, but that might not impress Fish and Wildlife officials. Anglers in Florida are allowed to harvest nurse sharks of a certain size, but without a commercial license, selling one could land you in hot water. It is currently unknown whether the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will pursue charges against Lanier, but if that happens, officials will have all the video evidence they need.