A surfer almost killed in a great white shark attack has been told he can keep a tooth stuck in his board – after a six-year legal battle.
Chris Blowes, now 32, lost his leg and was left in a coma for 10 days after the horror incident in South Australia in 2015.
The predator’s tooth became embedded in his board during the attack, which he was told he could not own under local laws.
But the state has now ruled that Mr Blowes can keep the “souvenir” – the first time such an exemption has been granted.
Under the Fisheries Management Act, possessing, selling or purchasing any part of white sharks is an imprisonable offence.
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But Chris successfully argued that, as he had not killed the shark for the tooth, he should be allowed to keep the item.
He told ABC: “It’s ridiculous to think considering it took my leg and it was stuck in my board.
“It seems stupid that I wasn’t able to have it in the first place, but that’s what the law says.”
Chris said he believed police recovered his board when it washed up on the beach after the attack.
They then handed it to the relevant authorities – who initially blocked the surfer from having it.
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“I tried to get [the tooth] back a few times – it’s good to have it back in my hands,” he said.
Chris said he would take the tooth along to his motivational talks but, in the end, it was a high price to pay for the item.
“It’s not a fair trade, a leg for a tooth,” he added.
The Fisheries Management Act states that an offence carries a fine of up to $100,000 (£55,000) or two years in prison.
Chris’ case is the first time the state an exemption has been granted, according to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, SA (PIRSA).
Minister David Basham said: “Chris has obviously been through a hugely traumatic experience and I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to help.”
Posting on Instagram, Chris said: “Thanks @david_basham_mp for getting me a permit to possess the white sharks tooth that was stuck in my surfboard after my attack.
“Under strict conditions I am now allowed to have this tooth that has been with the fisheries for the last 6 years.”
And he added to the BBC: “It’s a good souvenir to show my grandchildren.”