was surfing on the California coast when he was attacked by a great white shark. The high school student battled to free his leg from the 12ft fish’s jaws as it dragged him underwater.
Today, Mr Kathrein is fighting to save the same fish that nearly took his life.
Though great whites have been off-limits to commercial and sport fishers since 1994, their populations have continued to decline. Environmentalists estimate only 340 of the sharks are left in the north-western Pacific.
This month the state of California added the great white shark to its list of protected animals.
Since surviving the 1998 attack, Mr Kathrein has written books about his experiences and the threat to sharks around the world.