Sunday, June 07, 2009

Abomination 3.0

From the South Florida Shark Club's Triple Crown site

Sometimes, I'm just simply speechless.

Like when I was copied on this letter.
To his credit, Vice-Mayor Eliopoulos has already answered that he is concerned and will look into the matter.

Dear Vice-Mayor Eliopoulos,
There is a very disturbing issue concerning Delray Beach which I would like to bring to your attention.

local shark fishing club has been chumming and fishing for sharks right on our main beach in Delray, and is now aggressively promoting this activity and recruiting new members.

While drinking and fishing may be legal and fun to them it is cruel to the animals and dangerous to Delray's citizens and tourists.
This group claims to promote catch and release fishing, which may sound relatively harmless, but based on the discussions in their forum (as well as their recipe section) and the pictures on their website, this is not the case.

First of all they are chumming or using bait (sometimes smaller sharks that they've caught are used as bait for larger sharks) to lure the sharks close to shore. Once hooked the sharks are fighting for their lives and are landed exhausted from their survival attempts. After these fishermen have looked at the shark, high-fived everybody in sight and taken some pictures, they attempt to push, pull and roll the injured sharks back into the water.

Potential outcomes that we as Delray residents should be concerned about:

1. These fishermen are throwing chum -- fish heads and chopped up fish into the swimming area on Delray Beach. While snorkeling looking for shells on Sunday, one of us saw several large fish heads in three feet of water and chopped up fish pieces floating on the surface. A passerby on the beach told her that he'd just seen some guys throwing the bait into the water. Aside from the obvious problem that this bait is intended to attract sharks into the swimming area, it is smelly and disgusting! Not what you want to see when you're taking a nice swim or looking for shells!

2. Dead sharks will end up washed ashore by morning. This has already happened on Delray Beach. We have seen dead sharks on the beach while taking a morning walk.

3. Exhausted and injured sharks may be eaten by other larger sharks. As sharks are opportunistic hunters, larger sharks will be attracted to feed on the weak and injured sharks that have been released back into the water. These larger sharks will come to recognize that Delray Beach is a good place to visit for an easy meal. Large sharks coming into the shallow water on Delray Beach looking for the dead and injured sharks that are the aftermath of the previous evening's fishing party is certainly not the type of shark behavior we should encourage.

4. During the struggles between injured sharks that are fighting for for their lives and [inebriated] fishermen trying to return the sharks to the ocean, the chances of someone being bitten are almost inevitable.

5. Some of the injured sharks will not have the strength to swim far away and will be hanging around in the shallow water. Sharks normally go out of their way to avoid people, but a desperate, injured animal can be dangerous to unsuspecting to swimmers.

Are these the types of images of Delray Beach that we want to portray to our citizens or tourists?
We do not want or need the negative press that will surely ensue when a beach goer is bitten while enjoying our waters. Even a scratch or small bite by a shark makes the news as a"Shark Attack".

These fishermen are actively recruiting new members, which will bring more fishermen and sharks to our waters and more bloody sharks onto our beaches. Having bloody sharks on the beach is again, not an image that Delray Beach wants to promote. Newspapers and TV stations will get wind of these developments and will display these horrific images to their viewers and readers.

As you know, Delray Beach is a coastal tourist community that depends on the ocean and the life in it. It is an outrage that we would allow such blatant disregard and disrespect for our coastal environment. The shark fishing activity that this club is promoting paints a very ugly picture of Delray Beach, is potentially dangerous to our residents and tourists and is just all around a bad idea.

Other reasons why allowing this activity to continue in Delray Beach is a bad idea:

1. Sharks are seriously threatened due to overfishing:
* Over 150 shark species are on the IUCN list of endangered species. Nineteen shark species are prohibited under Florida law. It's clear from our conversations with members of this club that these fishermen are not able to identify the shark species they're catching, nor do they care.
* Populations of many shark species have been reduced by over 90% in the past 30 years (over 100 million killed per year worldwide -- mostly for shark fin soup).
* 80-90% of all shark populations just in the Atlantic have been reduced to levels that scientists believe can never recover.

* As apex predators, sharks are absolutely vital to the ocean's ecosystem -- they maintain the balance in the oceans. Without sharks the oceans die.

2. Shark meat is highly contaminated with mercury and other toxins, yet this group is promoting consumption of shark meat and even have recipes posted on their website. The 2008 publication titled "Your Guide to Eating Fish Caught in Florida" says the following with regard to sharks (page 21):

For all Florida coastal waters, all shark species:

* Sharks less than 43 inches
- Women of child bearing age and young
children - DO NOT EAT
- Everyone else - Limit to one serving per month

*Sharks 43 inches or more
- Women of child bearing age and young
children - DO NOT EAT
- Everyone else - DO NOT EAT

3. Monday June 8th is World Ocean's Day.
At this time more than ever we need to promote and share the beauty of our ocean environment and educate young people about the importance of respecting and saving these vital resources.

Delray Beach is wonderful, beautiful and vibrant community.
We love living here and greatly appreciate all the hard work that you and your colleagues have done to make Delray a great place to live and visit.
We want to keep it that way and we're sure that you do too! This is why we are urging you to institute a ban on shark fishing on Delray's Beaches as quickly as possible.

Thank you for you attention to this matter.
Please feel free to contact us anytime.


Bless the author for having been eloquent, extremely well documented, convincing and polite. This is pretty much the case in point for what we said a while ago - just much much more intelligent and better presented!

And what's going on is much much worse and obscene than I could have ever imagined! I didn't know that people like that even existed!
More disgraceful pics of the drunken mob parading the Sharks if you go through the forums in the above website.


Wilson said...

A well written, clearly researched and level headed letter indeed. Those so-called 'catch and release' guys are just inviting disaster with their bait attracting antics ><

Anonymous said...

Thats sorta funny... i've never heard of any person chumming for sharks off the beach. This is something that simply just wouldn't work and i think pretty unheard of. Chumming off of a boat might work but i do not know how you expect it to be effective off a beach. Wilson.. you say that so called "catch and release guys" are inviting disaster. Most fisherman will tell you that years ago all fish that people caught were slaughtered. It is a sad story but many of today's fisherman who may or not have taken in yesterdays fish killing hayday now realease their fish realizing the mistakes of old and will do anything to ensure theyre fishery remains for their children and their children's children. In this biased report towards a sport, you speak of this organzation recruiting people to learn how to sharkfish. For one these people who are "recruited" may learn the importance of conservation and learn to have a deep felt respect for the oceans top predators. Many adolescents may become involved in drugs, drinking and even gang related activity yet instead spend their time soaking baits off a beach and learn a hobby that they can learn for life. You speak of something that scares tourists yet many people come down to south florida for the exact thing that has just been banned on delray beaches. I for one know a family that comes all the way from canada each year to come sharkfish off of your beaches. The tourist industry contributes so much to our economy.. flats fishing for fish like bonefish and tarpon contributes more money towards our economy than the florida citrus industry. Numbers may not have been calculated for sharkfishing, but I can promise you, that it contributes to our states economy. I did a little research myself and the shark you posted as the heading of this article was actually caught a few hours south of your beach all the way down in islamorada. I find it sort of sad that you have targeted a group of citizens who has done nothing to you, and may even care about the shark populations of the world more than you through much slander and biased research. The type of propaganda which you use, portrays sharks as creatures presented in the movie Jaws or as invasive to your beaches, when in reality they are amazing creatures who have occupied these beaches long before man.

South florida shark fisherman and conservationalist said...

Commercial fisherman are trying to open a season for finning lemon sharks of the east coast of florida... sign this petition to stop this potential threat to our beloved sharks ... mon-sharks