A kayaker had to be rescued from the sea by the RNLI when a seal pinched the mackerel he had caught and caused him to capsize.
The man had spent an hour in the water before he was plucked to safety by the Hartlepool RNLI volunteer crew on Wednesday evening.
An off-duty policeman raised the alarm when he spotted the man in the sea at around 5.25pm near Marine Drive.
The man had caught 20 mackerel and was holding them in a net when the seal bumped his kayak and stole the fish, tipping him into the sea.
By the time RNLI crew member Ken Hay pulled him from the water, the man, who was wearing a wet suit, was struggling.
Mr Hay said: "He was tired and appeared a bit disorientated."
The kayaker was checked over by Hartlepool RNLI's volunteer crew members and taken on to the beach and given into the care of the ambulance service. He did not need hospital treatment.
Mike Craddy, Hartlepool RNLI's operations manager, said: "It appeared that the man had been fishing from his kayak and had caught about 20 mackerel and had them in a net over the side.
"A seal bumped into the kayak, capsizing it, and grabbed the net and fish for its tea.
"Hartlepool RNLI's volunteer crew members train regularly for incidents like this and are pleased the man has recovered and didn't need hospital treatment."