Sad day for sharks: 2 Pregnant sharks killed from destructive fishing (49 sharks killed total)

I am sad to report that within the last 24 hours, 2 pregnant sharks were killed.

The first  shark that washed up on shore, was in the Florida Keys yesterday. It was a 9 ft pregnant bull shark with 12 dead pups that were ready to be born.


Dead 9 ft pregnant Bull shark washed up on beach as a result of beach fishing. Shark had two “J” hooks in it’s gills (Click to enlarge)

12 dead bull shark pups (click to enlarge)

The second shark washed up this afternoon, was on Delray Beach. It was a 13 ft pregnant hammerhead shark with 35 dead pups that were ready to be born.

Dead 13 ft pregnant Hammerhead with J Hook (click to enlarge)

35 dead hammerhead pups (Click to enlarge)

Both sharks were entering nearshore waters to give birth when they were captured. Witnesses reported in both areas land-based shark fishing activities in the area the previous night.

Both sharks were found dead with “J” hooks;  one shark had double “J” hooks lodged in its gills.

Luckily, team members from the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program were able to respond and collect data, photos and samples.

So in less than 24 hrs, Florida lost 49 sharks (36 hammerheads & 13 bull sharks), of which 2 were reproductive females likely helping sustain the local nearshore population.

12 dead bull shark pups that were ready to be born (Click to enlarge)

It is sad to see such waste.

I am a strong supporter and promoter of responsible & sustainable catch & release fishing. However, I do not support fishing with destructive gear (J hooks) for threatened and pregnant species in areas and times of year where they congregate to give birth. This is just not responsible.

I think we need to consider at least the following regulations:

1) Only shark fishing with “Circle” hooks. This has already been instituted as part of Florida law for other fishes like groupers and snappers.

Circle hooks generally allow safe hooking of sharks in the side of the mouth, where they can be easily and quickly removed (this is compared to J hooks that sometimes cause gut or gill hooking which can be lethal).

2) Establishing protection for pregnant female sharks during the breeding season, especially threatened species like hammerhead and bulls.

3) Establishing standards and protocols for gear configurations and techniques for shark fishing that reduce fight, handling, and air exposure times, which will promote successful catch & release.

In addition, I think more research is needed to examine the effects of different types of catch & release fishing on post-release mortality to help better inform anglers on how to conduct sustainable catch & release fishing, which I support. I also believe more research identifying critical habitat for shark congregation, mating & pupping for conservation. Most importantly, we need to educate the public about threats facing sharks and how they can make a difference.

Most fishermen are responsible and ethical. The irresponsible minority reflects badly on everyone else. Responsible catch & release shark fishing is sustainable and many practice this. We just need to get everyone on board!

Brendal Davis & Mary O’Malley with dead hammerhead pups

Thank you to Curt & Kelli Slonim, Brendal Davis & Mary O’Malley for responding and being on the scene to collect data, take photos and educate the public!

Please provide your comments below and forward this to others!

Thank you for your time,

Neil Hammerschlag, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor,
Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (RSMAS)
Leonard & Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy

Director, RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program

University of Miami
4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, Florida, 33149

O: 305.421.4356    F: 305.421.4675   C: 305.951.6577

<<< Personal Website: >>>

<<< RJ Dunlap Website: >>>

87 replies
  1. Denise
    Denise says:

    I’m so sorry guys keep up the good work .The angels at least got to die with thier mom and were not finned .Still a tremendous loss. Never give up. Prayers all around

  2. Mike McCallister
    Mike McCallister says:

    Such a waste. I have heard different details though regarding the hammerhead. Oceanic defense is calling it a great hammerhead, here it says smooth, yet the only large hammerhead species I know that has been documented to use east coast FL waters as a nursery are scalloped hammerheads. What was the correct ID?

    Also, if there is any slight positive to take from this at all (and it’s tough to find any good), at least there will be a wealth of info learned from these specimens, and it means that the nursery grounds should be getting very active very soon…I can’t wait for my field season, bring on the juvies!

  3. Brendal Davis
    Brendal Davis says:

    This was a sad day indeed. It was my day off and I was enjoying the summer sun when I saw a 13ft hammerhead floating belly up in the water. Needless to say, it was upsetting and I realized she looked pretty pregnant. As tons of people swarmed the beach, people were taking pictures with the dead pups and one lady even asked, “if the shark was alive a few minutes earlier, would it have attacked someone”? We have a long time negative perception of the shark, this really needs to change and fisherman need to take more responsibility when it comes to land-based shark fishing. Enough is enough. Too many sharks are dying and killing these females is a huge detriment to an entire population of sharks.

    People need to know, this is not okay.

  4. clayton pearty
    clayton pearty says:

    I am the beachcleaner called by the Delray lifeguards to dispose if the shark. I witnessed the fishing earlier in the morning and regret not calling the police now that I have seen the damage that they have done. I also saw the shark fisherman’s vehicles as they had bumper stickers advertising themselves as such.
    I can personally attest to the deplorable behavior of the these fisherman; leaving butchered shark carcasses, beer bottles and other trash on the beach. Just the day before I found a sharp filet knife buried just beneath the sand right in the area where they campout.
    The fishing is done at night and I implore anyone who is a witness to this to immediately call the police as shoreline shark fishing has been banned by the city. These fisherman are needlessly killing endangered species and possibly making the beaches unsafe for swimmers and bathers as they are essentially chumming the water bringing man eating predators closer to shore. Thanks to all who have heart for these beautiful creatures

  5. Ron
    Ron says:

    Sharks don’t eat after they give birth (so that they do not eat their own cubs by “mistake”), so they aren’t even dangerous in this period when they come close to shore to give birth.

  6. Karleen Fosse
    Karleen Fosse says:

    Well it’s one thing to record the data, but why didn’t someone try to save them and her and or pups back out in the water? Maybe they really were to late. So sick, do u think the oil spill had anything to do with this? Please take the most natural and cruelty free diet for humans which as we are herbivore, with our long digestive system like all of the animal kingdom animals that eat a plant based diet not a carnivore one with a very short digestive system that eats the hair and guts and all inner parts with a easily sharp teeth, raw blood and all. If we don’t cook it we will get sick and over time humans die of cancer of eating a meat based diet. Fish are not meant to be consumed by the ever, sick and ravenous, sadly mistaken humans. Vegan4Ever, animal liberation now!!!

  7. Laura Walls
    Laura Walls says:

    I cannot express my continued dismay when contemplating the indifference and disregard mankind has for these magnificent creatures. There is NO reason to fish for sharks – none. Not for food, survival – NONE. Thanks to Brendal, Mary and Neil for all that you do (and to all of the others!). Please keep it up.

  8. Irma
    Irma says:

    What a waste of life…………will the human race ever learn what precious species they are exterminating? How dumb must a human be to not foresee the outcome of its actions?

  9. Mary O'Malley
    Mary O'Malley says:

    Sadly these are just two incidents that we happened to find about yesterday. A man on the beach told us that a huge bull shark had washed up in Delray last week as well. All this beach fishing activity lately is most likely due to a land based shark fishing tournament that is underway now across the whole state. It is purportedly a catch and release tournament, but as we can see, the sharks are not all being released alive.

    And a friend last night told me that a fishermen killed a great hammerhead recently and landed it at the Sailfish Marina in Riviera Beach. He killed this shark for a trophy, which – as we know – is completely unnecessary. Gray’s Taxidermy won’t even accept dead sharks for the purpose of making mounts, since it’s unnecessary to kill the animal for the mount.

    This type of behavior is just irresponsible and selfish, and reflects very badly on all the ethical recreational fishermen out there, who actually care about the environment.

    To respond to Karleen’s comment, the adult shark was already dead when people on the beach first saw her washing up with the incoming tide. We tried to save the pups but they were already dead. We were just too late unfortunately.

  10. Cynthia Fox
    Cynthia Fox says:

    All i can say is WOW! This is definitely heartbreaking. 🙁 I personally especially love bull sharks and all sharks are some of the most beautiful creatures in the world. I’m sad to think that with all the advances in science and fishing that we still see tragedies like this. Thank you to Neil, Mary and Brendal for responding and getting this out into the world. I hope someday I get to help fight this fight, although I wish the war could be over before I get there. Shark are magnificent creatures and do not deserve this treatment from humans. It’s a sad sad day.

  11. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
    Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says:

    When the team arrived on site, the shark were dead; however, knowing they were pregnant, team members immediately tried to recover the pups and hopefully release them alive. However, all pups were already dead when recovered.

  12. Mary O'Malley
    Mary O'Malley says:

    Please let’s also keep in mind that the vast majority of recreational fishermen are responsible and ethical. The irresponsible minority reflects badly on everyone else. And this minority is also capable of doing a great deal of damage as we can see.

  13. Tim Divoll
    Tim Divoll says:

    It’s sad to see this happening…legislation to protect females during the breeding season in Florida could really set the precedent for protection in other areas such as Central America. As we learned (the hard way) this is a very vulnerable life history stage for both mothers and pups and deserves proper protection. There’s a real chance here to establish protection and lead by example. Great job on getting this out there, let me know how I can help.

  14. Robert Dion
    Robert Dion says:

    How about these guys?
    These guys in particular are not the average fishermen and they are NOT responsible fishermen.
    They show themselves landing lemon sharks and Goliath groupers (both prohibited species in Florida).
    What they are doing is illegal.
    They either don’t know or don’t care.
    Education and enforcement is virtually non-existant.
    They say it is their right. It is not their right if it is illegal.
    They say that they release the sharks. They don’t always release them plus the mortality rate of releasing landed sharks is very high. Therefore there are dead sharks washing up on shore.
    They brag about landing pregnant sharks.

  15. George Campbell
    George Campbell says:

    Absolutely irresponsible… As a fisherman and advocate for sustainable catch and release shark fishing I have to say that this is a tremendous loss. Unfortuneatly, its circumstances like these that get people paying attention.

    There are countless steps RESPONSIBLE fisherman can take to protect these animals while fishing. I agree with Neil that CIRCLE HOOKS ARE A MUST! Appropriate gear and practices will greatly increase the chance of a safe, quick release… Also, when choosing your hooks be sure to err on the side of HARDER and SMALLER circle hooks as opposed to huge stainless J hooks. A circle hook tends to hook the animal at the corners of the mouth/jaw rather than half way down the throat, and into the gills… Obviously the hooks need to be removed as quickly as possible. If this is not an option or part of the hook remains in the animal, a harder, smaller hook will dissolve or corrode in the elements much faster than a larger, softer metal.

    Anyway, just want to get a quick reminder in here that this is NOT THE NORM. This is a few bad apples… I’m so sorry for the loss guys. I appreciate the “Most fishermen are responsible and ethical” note Neil.


  16. Adam Matulik
    Adam Matulik says:

    This is the very reason we spent time at Delray Beach to help stop shark fishing, at a hearing for a shark fishing ban. I know that Jim Abernathy, Brendal Davis, and myself tried to warn of the repercussions of allowing shark fishing at the hearing regarding that regulation. I would believe that those people who insisted that shark fishing was not dangerous are among those who are still fishing these beaches. That day was a minor victory for sharks, without putting a strangle on all types of recreational fishing.

    Unfortunately, the stupid decisions of a few people can ruin things for the majority. As Mary said: not all fishermen are irresponsible. But those few who are must have decided that the laws in place had enough of a loophole to get away with catching such a large animal. I think that a push should be made to tighten the loophole or to cut it off altogether. Hammerheads are particularly fragile, and the kind of stress this animal must have endured now prevents it from contributing 35 pups into an already damaged population.

    To Clayton: I’m sure you are seeing more of the direct impact that careless fishing is having. Thank you for your earnest opinion. You are the kind of person we need to reach.

    Brendal, I’m sorry you had to see that on what was supposed to be a day off… 🙁

  17. Robert Dion
    Robert Dion says:

    Thank you George and Adam for adding your common sense contributions.
    You have some productive ideas. I hope they will soon become reality.
    Lets get organized, strategize and save some sharks from unnecessary deaths.

  18. Paolo A. Santos
    Paolo A. Santos says:

    This is such a tragedy for shark-kind and to all who give these magnificent creatures love and respect.

    Thank you to all of you who are out there day in and day out doing your best to help curtail these events from happening again and bringing this to the attention of the populace.

    This is painful to discover and to realize, however, it must be publicized to further educate people that this type of fishing activity is prohibited. Sharks have every right to live out their life-span in the seas and oceans naturally. No one has the right to snare these animals for game, food or to prove manhood or feed the ego. This planet does not belong to us, we share it, so every single living thing must be respected. More governance will must be applied to protecting these animals and punishing severely those who break the law.

  19. Joanne Zerafa
    Joanne Zerafa says:

    This is so so sad :'(
    What a dreadful thing to do.
    This is unnecessary cruelty & a detrimental impact on the ecosystem.
    I feel shark fishing should be a criminal offense.
    It seems that the only way we can assure that sharks are protected is to BAN SHARK FISHING.
    In the mean time it would be nice to see a ban on the J-Hooks and enforce the law.
    Whatever we can do to help stop this cruelty, must be done.
    I want to help the world in stopping this happening to all species of sharks.

    To Adam Matulik, can you please re-post CAPT CURT’s full facebook name or a link – I cannot find it.

    Thank you to all the people who assist with shark research, data collection, rescuers, educators, your efforts will be rewarded eventually, so please don’t give up.
    Love and encouragement to you all to keep up the fantastic work.

  20. Chris
    Chris says:

    An other sad day for sharks. I wonder if the day will come when humans understand the importance of sharks and other creatures for the oceans. It looks like humans like to use force to eliminate our oceans. And then ??? What next ???

  21. Joanne Zerafa
    Joanne Zerafa says:

    Sorry Adam : )
    It was George Campbell that mentioned Captain Curt – and I think I have found him on Facebook.

  22. Capt. Bill Hardy- Berightback Charters
    Capt. Bill Hardy- Berightback Charters says:

    Any useless and unnecessary destruction of life in our precious and fragile ocean ecosystem must be eliminated. This becomes emphatically evident in situations like these, where we lose the young!
    The benefits of circle hooks are well documented( thank you George Campbell ). Additionally, Dr. Neil’s comment on more research on post release mortality in beach-caught sharks will be very meaningful. Here in the Keys it may be necessary to “winch” a shark for a very large distance in mere inches of water, prior to hook removal. Obviously, this will have a major impact on the shark’s ability to survive.
    I am in favor of restricting beach shark fishing, at the very least during the season when the pregnant females are in the shallows to give birth.
    Please keep up the good work. Through study and education, we may have a chance to preserve our ocean.

  23. Krissy Gustinger
    Krissy Gustinger says:

    My family and I own the property just to the north of where this shark was found. I am the one who called Capt. Curt Neil to report the shark in hopes of being able to use it in some way – police were there – neighbors were already there- it was very sad. These guys who presumably killed this Bull Shark – fish on Sea Oats Beach quite regularly and on more than one occasion we have seen dead shark carcasses on the beach or out in the shallow waters nearby.

    I don’t care if you like sharks or don’t like sharks it is a terrible thing to do to any living animal. As so many other bloggers have posted here there are so many known steps that can be taken to ensure a safe catch and release. I caulk it up to lack of knowledge and sheer ignorance. What if this was a 14 ft Endangered Sawfish… ? (Which we have seen on this sandbar in the past) I think it might get the attention of the regulating authorities. But of course then it is too late… much like in these cases.

    On a positive note just knowing that these sharks will be used for research is great. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a talk Dr. Neil gave at a Matecumbe Anglers Club meeting a few weeks ago. I have to say the data is very interesting and I am sure has already proven to be and will continue to be very helpful in many medical studies in the future.

    Keep up the good work and education. This is the only way this type of irresponsibility and ignorance will be stopped.

  24. Kelli Slonim
    Kelli Slonim says:

    In addition, we need to put pressure on our government agencies that create and enforce the fishing laws. In the case with the Bull Shark there were several FWC officers at the scene. They did a great job securing the fish and making sure that it was transported safely; however, there was a missed opportunity. On the FWC website the mission is stated: Managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people. There was a crowd of 50+ people that came and went to gawk and take photos of the Shark. Never once, did a FWC officer take the opportunity to educate the public on want and waste and the use of correct fishing tackle (a perfect forum in my opinion). The mission was failed. In addition, several comments were made regarding the known identity of the culprits and the inability to do anything…. sad. If we are not able to change the laws overnight than we need to empower and encourage our local law enforcement to do a better job with education.

  25. William Fundora
    William Fundora says:

    Sad day indeed when the general public are made to believe such lies created by a few well educated people twisting the truth to fit there own agenda against under represented land-based fisherman.We at the South Florida Shark Club practice catch and release.Not only do we promote and practice catch and release ,we are actively involved in tag and release of sharks in order to help in there research.In our 2010 Big Hammer Challenge we are working with NMFS’s Apex Tagging Program to tag as many sharks as possible during our month long tournament.In years past we have worked with Dr Sonny Gruber,Dr Jose Castro,Dr Charles Manire and a few others to help in there shark research.

    Let’s be fair here and stop attacking the recreational shark fisherman who are not responsible for the decline in shark stocks.The truth is ninetyfive percent of today’s shark fisherman practice catch and release, so why do you continue your campaign to discredit us?We also are passionate about sharks and there survibility but don’t believe for one minute that we will sit back and allow you the overzealous preservationist to step all over our rights as Americans and furthermore as tax paying fisherman of Florida. It is irresponsible and unfair to make the land-based shark fisherman seem like the one’s responsible for the plight of sharks.You all know the truth about the declining shark populations but you continue to leave it out of your arguements.The Asiatic nations and there 20 mile longlines and hunger for shark fin soup caused the declining stocks so why are the American recreational fisherman constantly attacked?.You are pathetic and powerless to rule the nations that are responsible and so destructive to the sharks annualy killing millions of them so you mistakenly and aggresively attack the recreational fisherman.SHAME ON YOU!!!! The next rights to be attcked will be yours and our American way of life will exist only in your memory.

    Once in while a pregnent shark will die after efforts to release are unsuccesful as in all forms of fishing but that occurs less then five percent of the time.You really want to help the worldwide stocks of sharks lets=
    1) Start a petition to ban all commercial fishing for sharks
    2)Start a Boycott of all chinese made products to protest there longlines
    3)Build a consortium of nations to ban commercial shark fishing

    Stop your unfair campaign and get real.God help us all.

  26. Lupodiver
    Lupodiver says:

    why don’t you respond to Robert’s comments above and the FACT that your website and the people you defend shows multiple posts and lots of land based shark fishermen with lemon sharks, and goliath groupers on shore when that is prohibited.
    And that members of your SFSC continue to fish for sharks in Delray Beach and pretend/claim they are fishing for tarpon.
    We see their trucks and we see their bumper stickers and we see them fishing for sharks on Delray Beach. ( They moved to Boynton Beach early last night).
    Your site has many hardcore shark fishermen that are breaking the laws and do not care for the sharks well being.
    Don’t try to divert these FACTS by changing the subject.
    Why don’t you respond to these claims
    You are responsible for the shark population decline. Your group killed 49s sharks in one day. Did you forget about your 2010 Big Hammer Challenge Shark Tournament that ends tonight????
    Don’t think you can hide because you think that others are more guilty. You are still guilty.

  27. Captain Curt Slonim
    Captain Curt Slonim says:

    To William of the South FL Shark Club…
    I own a Charter Fishing company in the FL Keys and I have been practicing RESPONSIBLE catch and release shark fishing for years. I have been fishing the waters of South FL and the FL Keys for 30 years. I am very familiar with your organization and I understand the exhilaration of catching a Shark. I appreciate that your organization promotes catch and release and note that you also want to promote the survival of this dominant species; however, land-based fishing for Sharks is not good for the species.

    First, circle hooks should be mandatory for all fisherman within your Club as J-Hooks are simply irresponsible for catch and release, don’t get me wrong, J-Hooks have their purpose in commercial harvest of sustainable species, which sharks are not. Circle hooks are designed to come out of the gills and esophagus and catch the corner of the jaw doing little or no damage whereas J-Hooks are designed to catch whatever they come in contact with starting with stomach or gills or esophagus, etc. Hard to recover when your insides are on the outside.

    Second, majority of sharks including the Great Hammerheads of your highly touted Tournament require water flowing over their gills to properly breath. When a shark is being dragged on to shore backwards for the required measurement and photos the Shark is essentially suffocating. And dragging the shark back out by tail for release is harmful as well.

    Third, you reference that your organization is tagging sharks for research. I just want to point out that tagging a shark does not constitute research. Unless you are recording pertinent data to be used for research such as; size, sex, blood samples, tissues samples, etc. you cannot claim research effort. The only research I am aware of is the data collected from dead sharks with leader and J-Hooks. If I am mistaken and the South FL Shark Club has published scientific research data on the successfully released sharks than I offer an apology.

    No one is disputing the fact that the Asian fishing community is decimating the Shark population. There are many efforts being made to stop commercial long lining and shark finning; however, as a responsible fisherman and a parent of the next generation I would like to make sure my community is doing what they can for the Sharks in our own backyard.

    I would ask that just take a moment to consider making the following changes within the club; mandate Circle hooks, take measurements and photos in a minimum of waist deep water, partner with a credited Research Organization, and take Shark Tournaments off of the calendar during the time of year that is known for Shark birthing.

    The dead sharks on the beach this week were definitely a result of land-based shark fishing… How do I know this? Dead sharks do not float. In 24 hours land-based shark fishing with 3 J-Hooks resulted in 49 dead sharks. It isn’t the damage of a Japanese long line vessel, but it certainly isn’t responsible catch and release fishing in our waters.

    I appreciate this healthy dialogue – this is how we are going to make positive change!!

  28. Jill
    Jill says:

    Thank you to the responsible fishermen who practice catch and release and have stopped using “j” hooks, and thanks to all those who care about the continued destruction of these awesome and important creatures. We have to continue to stand our ground and try to help save these animals and our oceans. It is a sad day that we have lost these valuable ocean citizens. The rest of you who don’t care and refuse to wake up and see your negative impact, go away, you are not wanted here anymore!!!!!!!

  29. Crash
    Crash says:

    We as a people and a nation are on the verge of the single largest ecologicel disaster in the history of man kind, And your worried about 49 sharks. I would get used to it. You are about to see a whole lot more. 11 species may well be extinct in the next 4 months; Including the Mississippi river Delta Dolphin, And the Western Bottle nose Dolphin. Seems to me there’s bigger things to worry about.

  30. Adam Matulik
    Adam Matulik says:

    With all due respect, please do not automatically infer that our concern for the sharks in our local area means we do not also have concern for other marine organisms in other regions. Quite the opposite: I am certainly concerned and disturbed as the nature of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico with regard to the impact on both local marine life as well as the citizens that live there, as I am sure the other researchers and conservationists here would agree. However, because this is our local area and because sharks are our major area of specialization regarding facts and experience, we do our best to utilize these facts and experiences to help make recommendations and present information to the public and to local officials.

    Obviously, the recent incident with BP’s oil rig is unnerving and it requires due attention. I, personally, am in favor of regulations regarding protection for those species you have mentioned and am appalled at some of the rumors surrounding the incident. However, while it is important for us to protect those, we cannot forget to protect others as well. The very purpose of the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program is the advancement of marine conservation though education.

    Are we worried about “only” 49 sharks? Of course! If, for instance, that pregnant female hammerhead shark produced a litter of 35 shark pups every year of which 17 were female, and that every 12 years those sharks became mature for breeding… within fifty years, that ONE shark could have responsible for over 100,000 multi-generation pups added to an already threatened population. For a species that’s on the brink, every mature member counts. That is the purpose of this discussion here, but it does not imply that there is not also ample concern regarding the current oil disaster as well.

    Thank you for your comments.

  31. Lupodiver
    Lupodiver says:

    We are waiting for your response….
    I see that you posted this.
    You are congratulating someone that killed 36 endangered great hammerheads?

    “We don’t who the angler is but it is a significant catch because of it’s incredible size (13 feet).Sadly the huge hammerhead died as they often do ,,,they are one of the very few gamefish that fight to the death.Congratulations to sharker X -whoever you are.”

    In your previous post (above) you claimed that you were passionate about sharks and their survival. If this is the case then why would you congratulate the person that just killed 36 of these endangered animals?
    More importantly why would you hold an annual tournament targeting this fragile species during their pupping season when you have just admitted that they often die?

  32. says:

    Two very large pregnant sharks passed away this week and believe me no fisherman or conservationalist alike likes to see this. I know for a fact that no member of the south florida shark club landed a 13 foot hammerhead shark within the past couple years, so pointing the finger on this one doesnt work. At the same time I believe that this shouldn’t be about pointing the finger. Sometimes fish die when they are released this is true in any catch and release fishery. Some bass, tarpon, bonefish, sailfish, marlin, and sharks pass away after they have been caught. There are some fisherman out there like mabye the “shark man of cortez” that may be on some extreme but believe me most sharkfisherman view people like this with as much distaste as you you do. Some of you I come to the understanding would like all fishing in the world to end and to you I view you with as much distaste as I do “shark man of cortez”. No fishing in this world is just not realistic, families are supported by the income of many commercial fisheries, there are large industries based both recreational and commercial fishing. Also something which may be even more abstract is that fishing is something people truly have a passion for, whether it be the escape from life, the soothing sound of the ocean, or the adrenaline of the fight. What is realistic is making our fisheries sustainable, and focusing on the large problems which contribute to the loss of our oceans great predators. Habitat loss, commercial longliners, a culture in China which demands “fish wing soup” (a direct translation of the dish we call shark fin soup) most chinese elders have no idea the fins come from shark. Mabye substituting it with another soup filler of the same texture could be a novel idea. Recreational fishing for sharks does affect the population whether it be landbased or boat based, there are ways to improve the catch and release survivabillity of sharks. I ASK SEVERAL SCIENTESTS TO COME FOWARD TO WORK ALONGSIDE REACREATIONAL SHARK FISHERMAN FROM THE SOUTH FLORIDA SHARK CLUB TO DECREASE MORTALITY RATES OF RELEASED SHARKS. Before some of you go to attack people who many of you have probably never met, please take the time to consider that these people may be your greatest allies in fighting for the plight of sharks. I attend University of Miami and am a marine science and biology major. I work two days out of the week at UM Rosensteil campus, on the weekends I fish for sharks because it is something I truly love to do. I personally know William and he truly puts has dedicated his life to shark fishing. He has helped the University with research before, he and other club members particpated in the University of Miami Shark tournaments in the old days where scientests such as Sony Gruber needed dead sharks for their research. Nowadays much has changed and Will and most shark fisherman practice 100% catch and release. Please do not put down his efforts to help out with the NOAA tagging program, along with the tag data is taken down such as FL, TL, Girth, Tackle Location.. etc. I work on a bonefish tagging program and this is the same standard information that we have guides and anglers around South Florida provide us as I enter this data into our data base weekly. Will may not be analyzing the data with proper fisheries statistics, but he is promoting that other anglers who would be fishing regardless are providing scientests with data that will help them determine the growth rates, movements, and population sizes of our worlds shark populations. I’m starting to rant on here.. but the basic idea is that none of us are happy that these sharks washed ashore, nor that they were pregnant. There are some fisherman who may be menaces… but really a majority of us are out there to conserve our oceans for future generations so lets work together and not attack eachother so we can make that happen.

  33. CG
    CG says:

    I’m with the poster who wrote that “catch and release” is no different from aliens hooking us out of our living rooms and then dropping us outside. Humans should learn to eat their natural diet, plants, and make it illegal to kill or “toy with” other species. A good place to start is with sharks. If it’s illegal to fish for them, period, there will be no question to call the police if someone is seen doing it. Particularly with the massive loss of species coming in the Gulf, it’s time for at least a moratorium on fishing in the region until the devastation can be assessed. It’s not that hard to be vegetarian, it’s just a choice to make. It has been said that you can’t call yourself an environmentalist if you still eat meat…or fish.

  34. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
    Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says:

    Colby and the SFSC,

    Thanks for your post.

    I agree..this should not be about finger pointing and in my initial blog I did not point the finger at any organization. In fact, I promoted sustainable recreational catch and release fishing…which I support.

    With that being said, I am sad to report that again another pregnant bull shark washed up dead on shore this morning in the keys at the exact same beach as the previous shark, again with double J hooks.

    In response to your request, I and my team would officially like to come forward and work alongside fisherman from the South Florida Shark Club to decrease mortality rates of released sharks. We have already have the project protocol, tools, funding, students and the commitment to work with your organization to make this happen.

    I commit to work with your anglers to gather the scientific data needed to help better inform anglers on how to conduct sustainable catch & release fishing, which I support.

    However, in the meantime, I urge your organization to use the advise offered by the the many recreational shark fisherman who have posted on this blog (e.g. Capt. Curt Slonim & George Campbell).

    I and my students will contact you privately to make arrangements. We are ready and I am glad to see you and the SFSC are.

    Neil Hammerschlag, Ph.D.
    Research Assistant Professor,
    Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (RSMAS)
    Leonard & Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science & Policy

    Director, RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program

    University of Miami
    4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, Florida, 33149

    O: 305.421.4356 F: 305.421.4675 C: 305.951.6577

  35. Adam Matulik
    Adam Matulik says:

    To “”:

    I appreciate your candor. And you are right – MOST fishermen are caring and responsible individuals. We are not blaming ALL fishermen. Nor are we saying that all commercial based fishing should end – aside from destructive shark-finning practices. We are saying that shark fishing needs to responsible and regulated to prevent species loss. In these aspects, I fully agree with you.

    I also am willing to heed your call for scientists to help fishermen. I believe that this is an important part of what is done here at the R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program. However, I think you’re making many assumptions about shark fishermen. Capt. Curt makes a point about the fact the hammerhead was found floating. It was caught by SOMEONE using tackle designed for shark fishing, which has been banned in Delray Beach. You may say you know that no one from the Shark Club was there, and that’s fine… but you cannot possibly account or speak for all recreational shark fishermen. The points being made here are the following:

    1) The two sharks we’ve mentioned were captured by on-shore shark fishermen. On-shore shark fishing is NOT responsible shark fishing. Sand in the sharks’ gills causes massive amounts of damage and can contribute to mortality. We promote responsible catch and release of sharks from boats. Any other kind of shark fishing is not sustainable and needs to stop.

    2) The bull shark was left on shore to die. This is not responsible shark fishing of any kind. There should be regulations to prevent this.

    3) The hammerhead was captured and released in such a way that air got into its body cavity and in a place where shark fishing has been BANNED from shore already.

    I graduated from the program you’re now attending and I have also worked at RSMAS as a volunteer intern for this program and for other doctoral students regarding sharks for more than seven years. I would spend some time learning more about the animals themselves before I spent more time fishing for sharks. If you care about and respect these animals, then I would recommend you recheck your current attitude and learn more about how on-shore fishing affects individual sharks rather than defending it simply because it is enjoyable. I’m certain William Fundora is dedicated to shark fishing – but is he dedicated to the animal itself? There have been times when researchers like “Doc” Gruber did use dead sharks from fishermen. And you’re right, many steps HAVE been taken in the right direction, including the preference of releasing sharks after research, using only live sharks, and encouraging recreational fishermen to use catch and release. We just need to check how this shark fishing is affecting the local populations and if it is being done RESPONSIBLY!

    I would recommend you find and meet some of our interns if you are part of the MSC program at UM. We are more than happy to provide insights from the work that we have done. Please feel free to continue this dialogue!

  36. Mary O'Malley
    Mary O'Malley says:

    Thanks to everyone for all the great posts. Open and honest discussion like this will lead to solutions, and the fact that another pregnant bull shark has just died unnecessarily highlights the urgent need to find these solutions.

    To the SFSC members who posted:
    Thank you for reaching out to ask for help and cooperation. The purpose of this discussion is not to lay blame and certainly is not to condemn recreational fishing. We all want to protect these animals that are so vital to the health of our oceans. And no one wants to see any more dead sharks – especially pregnant ones – turning up on our beaches.

    You’re absolutely right that the #1 threat facing shark populations is commercial overfishing driven by the demand for shark fin soup in China and elsewhere. The SFSC posters have offered some ideas for addressing this issue, and your comments are very much appreciated. I want to let you know that an enormous amount of effort and funds is being expended to attack this problem. Personally this is now my full time job. The problem is extremely large and complex, but still some progress is being made. Business in down for the shark fin traders in Hong Kong and tens of thousands of Chinese people are not just giving up shark fin soup, but are becoming active shark advocates. This is great, but we have to get the message across to over a billion. The shark fin business is lucrative and as such is like the drug trade. As long as the demand exists, sharks will be targeted, regardless of the laws in place. And unfortunately substitutes have not been very effective, because the appeal is not the taste or the texture, but the prestige. Reducing demand is vital. In addition to programs aimed at demand, however, conservation groups are also working on laws to control overfishing, enforcement of laws, trade restrictions, marine protected areas and alternative employment for those involved with shark fishing and the shark fin trade.

    OK so that’s the #1 threat, but not the only threat. Please consider the following statistics:

    According to NOAA Fisheries reports, approximately 550,000 sharks were harvested and another 14 million sharks were caught and released alive by recreational anglers in the US in 2007. And NMFS estimates that at least 20% of released fish end up dying. This works out to over 3.3 million sharks (14 million @ 20% = 2.8 million sharks + 550,000). Commercial shark landings in 2007 in the US totaled 15 million pounds. Using an estimated average weight of 10 lbs per shark, this works out to an estimated 1.5 million sharks. If the 20% mortality figure is correct, then the recreational fishing impact on sharks may be more than double that of commercial shark fisheries in the US. And the bulk of that number comes from well-meaning people who don’t even intend to kill the animals!

    It’s not the shark fin trade, but these numbers are still significant. And the 20% is a NOAA estimate for all fish. We have no idea what the number is for sharks. I believe Frank Mundus commented that upwards of 90% of sharks caught with J hooks might die. Hopefully it’s not that high. Whether it’s that high or not, we have plenty of evidence to show that Circle hooks greatly reduce the mortality rate. Therefore there should be no reason for any catch and release shark fisherman to use J hooks — period. And gut hooking is not the only cause of mortality, as we’ve seen this week. Neil has much more information that I’m sure he’ll share with you.

    More research on this subject is obviously needed as is more discussion and cooperation. I’m extremely happy to see that this is starting to happen. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.


  37. says:

    This is more of the type of conversation I would like to be having. I spoke to Neil in person today and look foward to collaborating.

  38. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
    Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says:

    BTW, the second bull shark left dead on Sea Oates beach in the keys, had a double J hook Rig. When samples were collected for our research, we found that the second J hook tore through the shark’s esophagus and pierced both its liver and heart…

  39. Responsiblesharkfisherman
    Responsiblesharkfisherman says:

    For your information:

    1- Circle hooks: Sharks are not like regular fish. The circle hook gets lodged on the corner of the jaw (where it forms a V) dislodging a circle hook may destroy its jaw. I stop using them because of it.

    2- The breeding season for sharks is year round! But the Florida keys gets lots of them in the winter through April because of the shark migration every year.

    3- To the person who talked about sand in the sharks gills: Sharks prowl the murky beaches, and passes (extreme amounts of sand and or muck in the water).

    4- Captain Curt—-You of all people should never speak of shark conservation as your treatment of sharks is inhumane. Never grab a shark by it’s gills let alone suspend them in the air by them.

    5- The use of a single hook and not allowing the shark to swallow a bait (immediately setting up the hook) prevents the shark from swallowing the bait. A J hook comes off easier than a circle hook and does not cause the damage a circle hook does on a shark’s jaw.

    6- To whom ever said that you need to be waist deep in the water while unhooking it, let me remind you sharks are not groupers they have sharp teeth and their skin is full of almost razor sharp dermal denticles. A tail swipe can cut your skin very deeply and sharks can turn an almost 380 degrees while in the water or out. As a rule of thumb sharks need to be landed in flat soft surfaces like wet sand where the water will constantly wash over the shark’s head and gills. Not dry sand, Not boats, not rocks, and not seawalls as they tend to jump and hurt themselves.

    7- Many of you acted on impulse and assumptions…First do the research and then responsibly publish your findings, and make sure that when you do your research you have done it next to the people you have attacked, which I see someone stepped up to the plate to do so and I’m glad you have.

    8- Most importantly: The taking or landing of pregnant sharks should be illegal.

    9- A special permit to fish for and release sharks over 4 feet in size should be issued. To obtain such permit one must pass a shark handling class. Such a permit needs to be able to cover for the class and to be used as funds for additional research.

    Just my $0.02 cents

  40. Captain Curt Slonim
    Captain Curt Slonim says:

    in response to

    First and foremost I’m am excited to hear that there is the possiblity of a collaberation between you and Dr. Hammerschlag. It can only help to benefit the long term survival of our local shark population.

    As far as your comments regarding my handling of the sharks, to the untrained eye or someone who is unfamiliar with the internal anatomy of the sharks it may look as if my hands are “in” the sharks gills. But if you’ll look at every picture on my website that you linked to the blog, you’ll notice that my fingers are in the FIRST GILL SLIT. The sharks LEMELLA (gills or breathing organs) DO NOT START UNTIL THE SECOND GILL SLIT. By entering in the first gill slit I am able to access their jaw, the strongest part of the sharks body, to better support their weight as comfortably as possible during realese, while also keeping the safety of the sharks as well as the people on board in mind.

    Furthermore, the only direct contact I’ve had with sharks gills has been in the last week while removing J hooks from the dead animals that were left on the beach by irresponsible shore based shark fisherman. I would like to take this time to reitterate ADAMS invitation for you to become more knowledgeable about the species.

    I’d also like to thank you for taking the time to check out my website and post it. Much appreciated.

  41. Colby
    Colby says:

    I’ll be sure to look to check that out on the next shark I catch, I learned something new, thats why I’m a student, I still have much to learn. I apologize for picking out something small like that it was uncalled for, I did it out of frustration, I just hear the tone of arrogance and condecension in your reponses and I feel it is uncalled for. I ask you to not make generalizations about how responsible someone is whether they are able to afford a boat or not. Believe me if I could afford and Everglades boat I’d be out there right now on my 33 cotender either sharkfishing or drifting the canyons for swordfish. When you catch fish on your charters or with drumlines on the trips down on that dive boat in the keys with kids from MAST and other schools in South Florida, you have mortalities. Just because sharks that die offshore or in Florida bay don’t wash up on the beach doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. As you work with shark scientests I hope that you have lower mortallity rates then the average recreational fisherman, this is the very reason that the south florida shark club has extended a hand towards you guys. I think a more apropriate plan of action that you guys could have taken a long time ago was a “Hey guys this is what you guys are doing thats not working, and here are ways you can improve your releases” instead of a “lets tell the public that people we do not know are evil and murder sharks for fun aproach”. The first is probably more effective being that you avoid the great amount of distrust and mabye dislike that has begun to foster among the believe me quite large population of landbased sharkfisherman around the nation towards many shark conseravtionists. This dislike and distrust is formed by constant attacks thrown at them from faceless organizations. I think that this is unnaceptable how can you loose the connection between the fisheries scientest and the fisherman? Who reports your tag recaptures back to you? Who through lifetimes of observation know the movments of these fish? The optimum water temperatures, what time of the year each species shows up along our coast every year and what part of the state you need to be in to find them. Who cares about sharks just as much as you do? Who is willing to put in their time and money to both help fund and facillitate your research? This is a group of people who are your allies, treat them with respect and much progress can be made. The education of the fisherman and the scientest comes with collaboration. Get to know these people they are really good people, go fishing with them, the ones who have let slanderous statements slide. Gain the trust of those who you have offended and you may learn they are not so stubborn. We all learn from eachother and compromises must be made otherwise there is no progress. There are few out there on either side whom I afraid will never come to terms with the other, and those will be the ones that accomplish the least for their side of whatever propoganda they are trying to uphold.

  42. Colby
    Colby says:

    There are few spelling errors in my post, probably have to learn a thing or two about proof reading too =p.

  43. Responsiblesharkfisherman
    Responsiblesharkfisherman says:

    “scientific” researchers need to write the information of shark handling.

    The gill slits are supported by cartilaginous gill arches and guarded by small cartilaginous papillae-like gill rakers which act as strainers to prevent food particles from leaving the pharynx through the gill slits.

    The gill lamellae on one side of a branchial bar are called a demibranch, or half gill.

    The demibranchs on the anterior and posterior surface of a single branchial bar are termed a holobranch, or complete gill. Thus, one holobranch belongs to two different gill pouches; the anterior half (demibranch) to the anterior gill pouch, the posterior gill demibranch to the posterior gill pouch.

    The Gill Lamellae are radially folded, highly vascularized tissue attached to the surface of a tough connective tissue, the interbranchial septum.

    Each septum is attached medially to a portion of the cartilaginous gill arch.

    The superficial constrictor muscles act as flap-like valves to open and close the external gill slits.

  44. Colby
    Colby says:

    Guy above Curt. I agreee with you about a some of the issues. As far as the circle hook I have tried both circles and J’s and in the end turned to J’s out of frustration. I love circle hooks for sailfish and bottom fishing but this is a different style of fishing and it just doesn’t seem to work, I agree that it is a lot harder to remove a big circle hook then a big J- hook. It takes nearly no time to remove the J hook which 99% is located in the corner of the sharks mouth. I clip the wire the pull the eye through the whole and whala. I try to use hooks with the smallest eye I can find because it makes hook removal a lot easier. If you guys recomend a circle hook that you think works well, I’m all for it, I’ll try it out and start recording if there is any difference in a written logbook. I have had only one gut hooked shark with J-hooks and believe me I have caught a lot of sharks.

    I agree that the taking of pregnant sharks should be illegal, but you really have no control if the pregnant shark is the one that takes your bait or not.

    The whole trying to take hooks out in knee deep water I agree, is a little bit dangerous and asking for someone to get bitten. I’m and working with William Fundura to introduce a bildge pump system very much like the ones you guys use on your tagging trips. The biggest thing about that is we need to make it stowable and easy to cary otherwise some people simply aren’t going to make the hassle to bring it to the beach.

    The last point that was made about the permit for sharkfishing, I agree with it. Believe me some people will dread it as they’ve been catching sharks for over 40 years, but I would be willing to take this course and fund local research on sharks, and I’m sure other fisherman would too.

    Have a shark conference in town hall format to discuss theses issues between shark fisherman and conseravtionalists.

  45. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
    Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says:

    Colby and other from the Shark Fishing Club. I think this has been a healthy dialogue and I look forward to working along side you and gaining from your knowledge to help reduce mortality and increase responsible catch & release (alive) shark fishing. We have already set on the right path and have started coordinating efforts as you are aware. Please share this with your fellow anglers.

  46. another
    another says:

    To: Responsible Shark Angler-

    I would like to talk to you a bit more about the handling of sharks, is there an e-mail or anyway I can reach you?

  47. Dr. Neil Hammerschlag
    Dr. Neil Hammerschlag says:

    I would like to state that not all the comments and opinions expressed on this blog, reflect those of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at University of Miami or myself.

    Again, the sharks that died were the result of fishing, whether intentional or not.

    I, nor this organization, point fingers at any particular fishing group as a whole. Both I and this organization support sustainable catch and release shark fishing in all its forms.

    Whether recreational divers, scientists or fisherman, we all enjoy sharks, and no one wants to see dead animals on a beach.

    The RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program are willing and ready to work with and, more importantly, learn from any type of shark fisherman and affiliated organization, which believe and practice sustainable catch & release shark fishing. We have already begun dialogues with several groups on projects, with the end goal being able to better inform anglers on how to more efficiently conduct sustainable catch & release shark fishing in all its forms.

  48. Crash
    Crash says:

    Here is my problem with this whole situation.
    1. If this Hammer was caught as the result of a shore based catch and release tournament. Why was it never entered in the tournament? At 13′ and over 1000 lbs, This fish would have won the tournament. Dead or alive
    2. what specific evidence is there that this Hammer was caught from land? Moreover that it was caught at DelRay?
    3. What specfic evidence do you have of this Hammers cause of death? A hook in the jaw is not a fatal injury for a shark. Experienced researchers would have known this. Well meaning amatures would not.
    4. Which member of the group from RJ Dunlap was qualified to perform a Necropsy on the beach to determine a conclusive cause of death? And what are their credentials?
    Finally Why were the remains of this Hammer buried on the beach rather than transported to NOAA or Mote Marine Institute for Necropsy?
    Sicence is about facts not circumstance. It’s about hard evidence not opinion and inunendo. For example, 23 dead sea turtles washed ashore in Mississippi and Alabama on 5/2 & 5/3. The gulf blowout was immediately blamed for them. However NOAA has released a statment that no traces of crude oil were found in or on the bodies. They now believe they were drowned in shrimp net’s. Just another case of angry well meaning amatures inflaming a situation without knowing the actual facts. Considering what is known about this case. It’s extremely irresponsible and unprofesional to point a finger at anyone group or individual fishing style. To me this questions the credibility of your entire group. Any Number of things could have caused the death of that Hammer. Her being pregnant only add to that list. All you have established at this point is a dead pregnant Hammer Head Shark washed ashore with a hook in it’s mouth. Those are the facts. Anything else is pure speculation on your part. The truth is Sharks do die of natural causes. The practice of catch and release dates back over a century. It’s the single largest contributor to the recovery of over fished species. I agree that J hooks should be replaced by Circle hooks. However education is the best way to accomplish this. Not unfounded and inflamitory statments.

    I offer as proof of this the email sent to the DelRay Mayor’s office On June 5 2009. In this email Mrs O’Malley outlines the Slaughter at Delray beach and attached photo’s. In fact none of the Shark’s pictured were even caught at DelRay let alone killed there. It was later determined that 2 were legally harvested. 2 could not be determined and the rest were released. Some with NOAA tag’s attached as part of the NOAA cooperative tagging program. Anyone who wishes to can go to the DelRay city web site and look up proposed ordance 37-09. You can also contact the DelRay city attourney and get all the correspondence pertaining to the ordance. That email was signed by Mary O’Malley and Brendal Davis among others. Considering this I have to question all of their statment’s and opinions. Not to mention their actions. Taking all of this into consideration I have to wonder if their focus was to promote an agenda and not the fact’s. Just for the record, I do not now or have I nor have I ever fished for Shark.

  49. Vilma Sooknanan
    Vilma Sooknanan says:

    Ok, so to all you shark fishermen out there! Please take another good look at those heartwrenching photos. Did you hear just how many pups were dead? 49!!! That ‘s so much to make such an enormous impact if they were living. We’re lost! Our decreasing population of sharks have been wiped to nothing in just under a week. The autopsy showed that these mothers were perfectly healthy, and so were their babies. So why did they die just like that?? We know that there was a J-Hook stuck in the mouth. Which concludes that there were someone out there who just cared about themselves, who went ahead anyways and disturbed these sharks and caused stress.
    These and some others are the most crucial sharks sharks that are left in Florida’s waters, whos only job right now is to keep their declining population going.
    Readers, they are on the brink of survival and need our help. The only task they want us to perform is: Just leave them alone. All they want to do is just live in peace and keep their habitat clean and sustained. I have personally worked with Doctor Hammerschlag as part of the South Broward High School Shark Club. I’ve seen these magnificant creatures and appreciate them to the fullest. We need laws protecting the sharks that come to near shore to breed. Just as we do for our lovely sea turtles. We need some action and we need it now!

  50. Jamie Storm
    Jamie Storm says:

    As an avid fisherman I can see the sporting side of this but as a human being with an appreciation for nature I can appreciate the emotions that a story like this evokes. While tragic that the babies were casualties, it’s often hard to balance between a policy of non-interference with nature and one of keeping our shores safe. Situations like these will occur continually until protective legislation is introduced!

  51. yukeri3
    yukeri3 says:

    i feel sad on this incident coz all living things are need to respect even they are sometimes dangerous but the point is they are pregnant and ready to give birth hope the people who do this pay for what they done.

  52. PC keeper
    PC keeper says:

    What is the effect of industrial catching compared to that of pleasure/entertainment fisherman activities on Shark populations of Florida? Is it comparable or those who seek entertainment make more impact on population?

  53. Naveen
    Naveen says:

    It is too bad. By seeing this article I hope people ( fisherman ) doesn’t have proper knowledge on catching the sharks. The government should make a strict action on them and pass order to use only circle hooks. At last I would like to congratulate Curt & Kelli Slonim, Brendal Davis & Mary O’Malley for their excellent job.

  54. Chris Quinn
    Chris Quinn says:

    Oh no, this is way too sad. I heard about the sharks being hungry and waiting off in the waters to get food or whatever, but this is a tragedy. I totally agree with having a system to protect pregnant sharks, but there are too many people that don’t respect the environment.

  55. Ross Conan
    Ross Conan says:

    Responsiblesharkfisherman says:
    May 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    For your information:

    1- Circle hooks: Sharks are not like regular fish. The circle hook gets lodged on the corner of the jaw (where it forms a V) dislodging a circle hook may destroy its jaw. I stop using them because of it.

    2- The breeding season for sharks is year round! But the Florida keys gets lots of them in the winter through April because of the shark migration every year.

    3- To the person who talked about sand in the sharks gills: Sharks prowl the murky beaches, and passes (extreme amounts of sand and or muck in the water).

    4- Captain Curt—-You of all people should never speak of shark conservation as your treatment of sharks is inhumane. Never grab a shark by it’s gills let alone suspend them in the air by them.

    5- The use of a single hook and not allowing the shark to swallow a bait (immediately setting up the hook) prevents the shark from swallowing the bait. A J hook comes off easier than a circle hook and does not cause the damage a circle hook does on a shark’s jaw.

    6- To whom ever said that you need to be waist deep in the water while unhooking it, let me remind you sharks are not groupers they have sharp teeth and their skin is full of almost razor sharp dermal denticles. A tail swipe can cut your skin very deeply and sharks can turn an almost 380 degrees while in the water or out. As a rule of thumb sharks need to be landed in flat soft surfaces like wet sand where the water will constantly wash over the shark’s head and gills. Not dry sand, Not boats, not rocks, and not seawalls as they tend to jump and hurt themselves.

    7- Many of you acted on impulse and assumptions…First do the research and then responsibly publish your findings, and make sure that when you do your research you have done it next to the people you have attacked, which I see someone stepped up to the plate to do so and I’m glad you have.

    8- Most importantly: The taking or landing of pregnant sharks should be illegal.

    9- A special permit to fish for and release sharks over 4 feet in size should be issued. To obtain such permit one must pass a shark handling class. Such a permit needs to be able to cover for the class and to be used as funds for additional research.

    Just my $0.02 cents”


    You basically summed up everything I wanted to say. Even here in Cali, it isnt rare to find some beach fisherman catching sharks and I find that most of them know the guidelines mentioned here. It just so happens that sharks can be caught accidentally and the fisherman must have not known what to do. But this is a tragic case nonetheless

  56. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    This is very sad indeed. I saw a TV programme recently in the UK about the tuna supply chain. It was a real eye-opener. I really do feel that the supermarkets have to collectively make a stand.

  57. Sue
    Sue says:

    @Sarah – I saw the same programme… in fact I found this page looking for more info on that. It’s just truly terrible.

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