Sharks are protected in Cayman's waters, and the Department of Environment is warning the public there are penalties for harming these apex predators. Recent reports of slain or injured sharks in Cayman Brac have prompted the DOE to remind the public of the vital role these misunderstood creatures play in healthy oceans. The bottom line: If you encounter a shark, just let it live. "Let the sharks live when you accidentally catch them. It's really easy, if you are getting close enough to do this sort of damage to a shark, you are close enough to release the shark safely. Just cut the line as close as you feel comfortable and let the shark swim away," said DOE Sr. Research Officer John Bothwell. Violators may face fines of up to $500,000 and four years in jail and the seizure of any boats or equipment involved in the harming of a shark.