Stunning close-up of great white goes viral, draws criticism from shark experts



I throw back everyday - today, my favorite #gopro shot from South Africa.

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The New Jersey school teacher who snapped an amazing close-up photo of a great white shark is coming under scrutiny for putting the beast in danger.

Art teacher Amanda Brewer took the picture of a lifetime during her recent trip to South Africa, but critics say the bait used to lure the shark in is too close to a metal cage that could hurt the animal.

Brewer claimed to the Star-Ledger the picture was "pure luck."

The stunning shot that has been liked more than 350,000 times on Instagram was taken while she was inside a shark diving cage.

That, according to shark experts, is where the problem lies. The bait seen on the right side of the picture is too close to the cage.

"Bait usage is fine in my book as an attractant, but dragging it at the cage like this is asking for trouble for the shark," Ricardo Lacombe wrote on the White Shark Interest Group Facebook page. "So disappointed this shot is getting so much coverage ... but a chance to try and educate people I guess."

Brewer defended the use of bait. She said that a staffer with the tour group was putting it away, not pulling it towards the cage.

"The person was pulling the bait around and out of the way of the cage [to Brewer's right] so that shark wouldn't go near the cage at all," Brewer told GrindTV. "That's one thing that we learned right off the bat, is that you never want the shark to make contact with the cage."

The bait is often used so tourists can see the shark, but is never pulled towards cages, she insisted, adding that scientists also use bait to see the animals up close.

The art teacher also told the site that using a fish-eye lens also made the terrifying monster appear much closer than it actually was.

"The fish-eye lens did me in," Brewer quipped.