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Monster Shark Fishing Tournament


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#1 Michael

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Posted 03 November 2005 - 08:26 PM

Hello Wetpixel,

I was just channel surfing and caught a few minutes of ESPN's infamous "Monster Shark Fishing Tournament," which takes place during the summer and is now periodically televised here in the States. Apparently this event occurs every year, and ESPN has decided to get behind it in order to boost ratings.

To say it's offensive, dated and grotesque is a huge understatement - and I'm not a tree hugger. When I first saw it, I thought it was taped in the 1970s. Anyway, I immediately googled the event and learned the Human Society has a petition going around that attempts to convince the tv channel to abandon its support for this pathetic circus.

ESPN, the tournament's organizers, etc. claim many sharks are released, the dead sharks feed poor old people and scientists get a lot of data from the dead animals, blah, blah, blah. To me, it sounds like a bunch of baloney, a la Disney Shark Fin Soup in HK (same company). This year, they killed a nearly 1,200lbs tiger - an event that made headlines everywhere. They were also hauling 400lbs blues and porbeagles on the dock...now, wouldn't it be nice to see those big fish swimming?

We all know that when you cherry pick the biggest animals, the overall population suffers. The big guys and gals have the best genes, biggest litters, etc.

For what it's worth, I filed my protest and am posting the link here to anyone wishing to participate:

https://community.hs...N_shark_contest

Best regards,

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#2 Drew

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:31 AM

Poor old people? Didn't know soup kitchens used shark soup. I am very opposed to activities like this which cannot be helpful to the protection of certain endangered or stressed species. Unfortunately, fewer people care for sharks thanks to years of misguided media coverage and the unfortunately gruesome killings the sharks are guilty (however mistaken identity or selfdefense).
Scientific support and leaders who can see past the fear will be the ultimate saviors of the shark population... esp in Asia where there is virtually no control of the sharks fin situation while demand rises as the Asian (particularly Chinese descent) economy grows.

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#3 MikeVeitch

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 04:53 AM

Here is one conversation about it on Scubaboard, note most are a pro killing...

http://www.scubaboar...hark Tournament

And another one from the previous year, a huge Mako...
http://www.scubaboar...hark Tournament

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#4 3000psi

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 06:27 PM

I'm afraid I see nothing wrong with this as long as conservation is observed much like the established game laws for hunting and fishing. Not sure I know all the particulars of this tournament but I would say money was spent on licenses, entrance fees, tackle, boats, etc that eventually found its way back into conservation efforts.

After all it is in the best interest of the fisherman who enjoy this to work to make sure there are more and bigger sharks for future events. Much like the hunters who appreciate the efforts of game management to monitor populations of wildlife by adjusting bag limits and length of seasons to insure sustainable populations. If the same management principles are applied here I don't have a problem with it. It is something I would not derive pleasure from but I am not against others pursuing the sport.

"We all know that when you cherry pick the biggest animals, the overall population suffers. The big guys and gals have the best genes, biggest litters, etc."

I'm not an expert on evolution of species but I do know that for decades of keeping records of trophy animals that some of the world records have been taken in the last few years and this after years of hunters cherry picking the biggest animals.

I always try to see others viewpoints even though they may clash with mine. These fisherman are enjoying our oceans in their own way even though I may not agree with how they are doing it. But it is another group that has a vested interest in preserving our oceans. If you take their sport away that will be one less group that will be there to defend our oceans.

And there can be silver linings in some clouds ...."This year, they killed a nearly 1,200lbs tiger - an event that made headlines everywhere. They were also hauling 400lbs blues and porbeagles on the dock...now, wouldn't it be nice to see those big fish swimming?"

It might even be nicer now to see all the turtles, dophins, other sharks, and marine life that would have been prey for these fish swimming around.

Please don't think I am trying to encourage people not to vote on banning this practice but just to look at it from another point of view before making your decision

#5 acroporas

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Posted 04 November 2005 - 07:56 PM

I haven't seen the show. It may be in good taste. I have no problem with this sort of shark fishing in itself. I do not mind a televised shark fishing tournament. They may treat it like they would treat bass fishing tournament. If that's the case I think it is fine.

But making a realality TV show about how cool it is to kill big sharks(which the title seems to imply), that I do have a problem with. If they treat it like "we are macho men - we kill the evil sharks," then it is inappropriate.
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#6 Michael

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 07:24 AM

Somebody wrote:

>>I'm not an expert on evolution of species but I do know that for decades of keeping records of trophy animals that some of the world records have been taken in the last few years and this after years of hunters cherry picking the biggest animals.

>>And there can be silver linings in some clouds ...."This year, they killed a nearly 1,200lbs tiger - an event that made headlines everywhere. They were also hauling 400lbs blues and porbeagles on the dock...now, wouldn't it be nice to see those big fish swimming?"

>>It might even be nicer now to see all the turtles, dophins, other sharks, and marine life that would have been prey for these fish swimming around.

Some food for thought:

**True, large animals are still being killed (unfortunately), but take into account the following examples:

**Swordfish were typically caught in huge sizes - they grow to over 1,000bs. Now, the average size of a fish caught and served in a restaurant is under 100lbs.

**Just this month Undercurrent reported that scientific studies in Ningaloo, Australia show the average size of whale sharks visiting there diminished from 23ft. to 18ft. in the last 10 years because of Indo-Pacific fishermen killing the large ones for fins and meat. According to Australian scientist Dr. Mark Meekan "Any fish population that is undergoing unsustainable mortality usually shows a drop in average size of individual fish and a drop in abundance."

**In 2005, Nature Magazine reported that 90% of the ocean's large fish are gone, due to overfishing.

**Large predatory sharks take a tiny, insignificant amount of prey species like dolphins and turtles. If you really want to see more of these animals, turn the screws on longliners and net fishermen, who kill thousands of these every year, especially in the Med, N. Atlantic and E. Pacific.

**Fishermen in the TV show were describing blood thirsty sharks ready to eat anyone who fell in the water. I laughed when one guy said "These sharks really want to eat you." Please

#7 3000psi

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 06:01 PM

Michael,

"If you really want to see more of these animals, turn the screws on longliners and net fishermen, who kill thousands of these every year, especially in the Med, N. Atlantic and E. Pacific."

This is sort of the point I was trying to make. It is in the interest of the sport fisherman to see that there are sustainable populations. Enlist them in the fight against the real threat .... don't alienate them.

The damage the sport fisherman does is insignificant. Just sighting your first example (btw swordfish can grow to over 2,000 lbs ) the world record swordfish is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,100 lbs, a far cry from how large they can get. It can typically take over ten hours to land a swordfish in the 600-800 lb category. This type of harvesting pales in comparison to the longliners and the thousands of fish they kill and don't even use because they are too small.

"Fishermen in the TV show were describing blood thirsty sharks ready to eat anyone who fell in the water. I laughed when one guy said "These sharks really want to eat you." Please"

I would see this statement "These sharks really want to eat you." as nothing more than hyperbole. I hear statements like these (not sharks specifically) almost everytime I'm enjoying the Discovery channel or Animal Planet .... even National Geographic over plays the danger card from time to time. Steve Irwin of Crocodile Hunter jumps to mind on how he can go overboard a little at times but just because of this I'm not ready to condemn him.... their just playing to the camera.

I would like to know of any worthwhile groups (read not fanatics that are out to ban all types of fishing) that you may know of that are trying to keep the commercial fishermen in check.
Thanks.

#8 Drew

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 01:10 AM

3000PSI
The sport fishermen catch can sometimes be equal to 15-20% of commercial catch depending on species. This is of course estimated based on observational studies since sportfishing stats are hard to come by.
Some studies indicate it is impossible to drive any one fish species to extinction. This is more for commercial reasons, where the fishing will stop once the commerical viability ends. Same for the fisherman. It is assumed under this theory that somehow there'll be an egg spawner which will repopulate the area.
Sharks with their slow reproduction and lesser spawning ability would probably be an exception to the rule. Some areas(such as in Anilao Philippines) has seen decimation of certain species by bad fishing practices so that theory is also contingent on different factors.
There is also studies done on the effects of catch and release of fish. After fighting a tackle, being handled etc, the fish survival rate isn't exactly great.
Controversial subject, I prefer to observe sharks than to catch them. And I really don't think the hyperbole is doing the shark's reputation any good and thus the willingless of the public to save isn't there as much as say the dolphin.

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