Marine diver 'blasted' for touching shark after it approached her

A marine biologist is in hot water after posting a video showing her touching a possibly pregnant shark while diving.

Ocean Ramsey posted footage of her encounter with the shark to Instagram, showing her swimming in front of the large shark and touching it as it approached a group of swimmers.

She soon had to follow up with another post explaining the reasoning behind her actions. Ms Ramsey said she usually avoids touching the sharks, but made an exception in this case.

"I've received some criticism over touching this shark from a limited perspective video angle of someone behind me so some are saying I 'jumped' the shark," she wrote

"There were many random people in the water that I didn't know but could see that some could barely swim and wore bright coloured fins that you would never want to wear around a shark because they are eye catching and sharks can be curious.

"As a matter of public safety I tried my best to keep myself between the shark and these people."

Commenters on the post weren't impressed though and accused Ms Ramsey of changing her story when she was under pressure.

"Ramsey initially started off with the story that she was touching them because the shark wanted touched - she has now changed her story to the one presented here that she was touching it to prevent damage," wrote one commenter.

"She had also gotten in trouble for touching sharks in the past in places where it is flat out illegal. I assume she came up with this new narrative in an attempt to cover her ass.

"No it is not ok to touch great whites, they are not remotely comparable to land life which have humans around naturally. She is breaking standard diving etiquette and other marine biologists are blasting her."

Newshub has seen other videos which show Ms Ramsey touching sharks, such as one from a recent encounter where she touched the fin of one.

Ms Ramsey says she has received death threats over the video from enraged internet users. She said it's unfortunate because she usually advises against touching sharks.

"They were like a crazy lunatic saying 'I'm gonna kill you for touching sharks,'" she told Hawaii News Now.

"I've continually put disclaimers out there working with sharks for over 15 years (that) we generally avoid touching wild animals and give them the space and respect they deserve and teach people how to avoid adverse interactions."

Newshub has contacted Ocean Ramsey for comment.