Target: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Goal: Ban shark wrestling, and catch and release for sport
Catching and releasing sharks for fun is becoming a hot trend for some individuals on the Florida coast. One man in particular makes it a sport to find a shark, catch it on a line, then wrestle it to shore, letting it go after the brawl. He is very proud of his abilities to completely disrupt the shark, and possibly severely injure it, all to gain a picture or video, and some bragging rights. Shark experts worry that this kind of harsh treatment may disrupt and internally injure the shark, possibly bruising organs.
The 24-year-old shark wrestler believes that he is doing nothing wrong, and is quick to mention that catch and release of sharks is not illegal. It is indeed not illegal to catch and release sharks, though the effect that this sort of treatment has on the well being of the shark is yet to be determined. Some researchers believe the stress of the situation could result in lower reproductive outputs for the sharks. If statistics show that the stress of the catch and release situation is detrimental, the sharks are going to have yet another obstacle to overcome in order to repopulate. The sandbar shark, one of the shark wrestler’s targeted species, has been on the decline due to commercial fishing. Allowing any sort of disruption to the shark, or its habitat, is far too risky.
Even though this man does not kill or attempt to kill the shark, this sort of behavior should not be allowed. It advocates disrespect for animals that we share this planet with, and opens up more opportunities for sharks to be abused and misunderstood. Not to mention, shark wrestling is asking for a person to become seriously injured by a shark that is simply fighting for its life. Sharks do not need another reason to be labeled dangerous.
Shark wrestling, and the catch and release of sharks should be made illegal. Their habitats and populations are already struggling; we as humans should be helping them thrive, not endangering them any further. Sign this petition to condemn shark wrestling, and catch and release.
Dear Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
A trend has been on the rise in the coastal waters of Florida that is dangerous and detrimental–shark wrestling, and the catch and release of sharks. The National Geographic highlighted a 24-year-old man who enjoys snagging a shark on a line, jumping in and wrestling the shark to shore. He releases the shark shortly after the brawl–he is sure to get a picture or a video first. While this behavior is not illegal, scientists worry that is detrimental to the stress level and physical well-being of the shark.
The shark in the National Geographic article is a sandbar shark; this particular species is on the decline due to commercial fishing. If statistics show that the stress induced from this treatment is enough to lower reproductive outputs, this species is in trouble. Scientists are also concerned that this sort of treatment may leave internal bruising and damage that is detrimental to the fragile body of a shark. The catch and release of sharks is in no way a positive action in helping a species thrive. To some, like the man in the article, it may be a completely harmless way to enjoy nature and produce an adrenaline rush. The fact is the sharks need help thriving, not help dying.
Please do not advocate for the ill treatment of sharks in your coastal waters. This sport is dangerous to the humans involved, as well as damaging to the reputation and the overall well-being of the sharks. Enjoying nature should be just that–being peaceful alongside it, not disrupting its existence. Be a part of the safe future of sharks- ban shark catch and release, and wrestling.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jeff Kubina via Wikimedia Commons