Target: Daniel M. Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Goal: Ban shark killing tournaments which are devastating shark populations.
Shark populations are declining worldwide because of overfishing. A contributing factor to the decline in the number of sharks is shark killing tournaments. These tournaments offer big money to people who kill big sharks. Fishermen compete to see who can catch the biggest shark or the most sharks. Captured sharks are hooked, hung, bled, and suffocated to death, all in the name of sport. We must stop these gruesome and horrific tournaments.
Shark fishing started in the 1970s in Montauk, New York. Frank Mundus is credited with coining the phrase “monster fishing” and started harpooning great white sharks in the 1950s. He is also reportedly the inspiration for the Quint character, a shark fisherman, in “Jaws.” In 2008, after a lifetime of shark fishing, Mr. Mundus grew concerned with the decline in shark populations and urged gentler treatment and more study of sharks.
According to the shark fishermen, the fun doesn’t come from hooking the fish but from hauling a shark in once hooked. This can last for more than an hour. Typically, sharks caught in tournaments are more than 300 pounds and range from Mako, Thresher, and Porbeagle shark species. The hooks used to fish for most sharks are J-hooks, which can rip apart a shark’s tail, stomach, or throat.
The mortality rate of released sharks has been measured as high as 26 percent due to the injuries they sustain and the difficulty they have breathing while being dragged backwards. Some tournaments and shark fishermen have switched to circle hooks, which increase a shark’s chances for post-release survival. However, it is still torture since they are fighting for their lives as they are dragged on docks to be weighed.
The Humane Society of the United States believes that when people see the hanging of a dead shark carcass, they no longer regard the animal with ecological value. Shark killing contests are inhumane and turn injuring and killing sharks into a spectator sport. We should cherish this amazing aquatic species instead.
By signing this petition below, you are urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban shark killing tournaments and promote shark conservation.
Dear Director Ashe,
It is time to reconsider our laws and ban shark killing tournaments. The tournaments are inhumane, cruel, and disastrous to shark populations. Even catch and release tournaments can have mortality rates as high as 26 percent.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, over 100 million sharks are killed annually. That is approximately 11,000 shark deaths per hour. Shark killing tournaments cater to those who enjoy seeing large, dead animals. Tournaments like this should be made illegal.
I urge you to stop the vicious and callous shark killing tournaments that occur in the United States. Please don’t allow this cold-blooded act to continue.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Raike_99