Probation for fisherman who fatally shot great white shark off the coast of Santa Cruz

A great white shark washed up on a beach in Aptos on June 17, 2018. Photo: Giancarlo Thomae. 

Wildlife officials say a San Jose man has been sentenced to two years probation in the fatal shooting of a great white shark.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday that the Santa Cruz Superior Court also fined 41-year-old Vinh Pham $5,000 and ordered his firearm destroyed.

The department says officers began investigating in June after a nine-foot male with multiple bullet holes washed up on a beach in Aptos. A necropsy found the shark had been killed by a .22 caliber firearm.

It says a caller on a tip line reported that a member of a commercial fishing crew may have been responsible for the death.

It says Pham confessed, saying he shot the shark after seeing it swimming near the wings of his deployed fishing net.