Man catches shark with his bare hands

A video of a man catching a shark with his bare hands has sparked an online war between supporters of the man and animal rights activists.

The man, believed to be Washington man Alex Winn, posted the footage to his Instagram, showing the small shark swimming in the water.

He dived into the water from a dock and came up triumphant, clasping a small shark. He then tossed the terrified creature onto the dock, where another person held it down.

"I let it go right after the vid and made sure he swam off," Mr Winn said, defending his actions.

His catch was applauded by viewers.

"Dude, you're awesome. You caught it and released it. You did nothing wrong," said Jacob Winand.

However it wasn't good enough for some, who attacked him for his "cruel" actions.

"This isn't ok. Sharks don't need this. Really no animal does," one person wrote.

"Hope the little shark bit his ass one time. Karma. What a bad and arrogant human!" another said.