End Cruel Shark Killing Tournaments

Target: Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries

Goal: Stop killing sharks for sport and end tournaments that encourage this cruel practice.

In most states across the U.S., it is completely legal to kill sharks simply for the sport of it. Each year, dozens of shark catching tournaments take place, drawing large crowds of spectators from all over the state. While some of these tournaments have converted to catch-and-release, the majority of these trophy hunting competitions encourage the murdering of these innocent marine animals and, each year, an estimated 70,000 sharks are killed across the U.S. Many times, hunters disregard conservation laws and target vulnerable species protected under the IUCN such as the mako, thresher, and porbeagle sharks.

One such tournament took place in July, in Palm Beach County. This year during the Patrick Price Memorial Bull Shark Tournament, at least 9 sharks were senselessly killed by competing fishermen. An additional 100-125 sharks were caught and released alive, though this in and of itself offers a serious problem to these sharks. Many species of sharks, like spinner and blacktip sharks, experience death rates of 42-71% following their release.

Individuals who partake in these cruel hunts like to claim that they are doing it to protect the environment and that sharks are heavily overpopulated. This is simply not true. In fact, shark populations have been in serious decline over recent years due to the same overfishing problems that other aquatic species face. Female sharks are often the larger of the two sexes and, as the goal of most shark tournaments is to catch and kill the largest shark, it is not uncommon to see pregnant females killed. Sharks typically have a low fecundity, meaning they produce fewer offspring over the course of their lifetimes. The mass killing of these sharks–both recreationally and for food–also negatively disrupts the balance of the ecosystems to which they belong. As sharks affect all levels of the aquatic food web–both indirectly or directly–their conservation is extremely important for the maintenance of our oceans and those who inhabit it.

The practice of killing beautiful animals for human entertainment is antiquated and out-of-touch. It is up to us to protect these sharks and the ecosystems that they sustain. Sign this petition to help put an end to shark killing tournaments in the U.S..


Dear Assistant Administrator Coit,

Across the U.S., it is still widely legal for people to participate in shark fishing tournaments, where sharks are torturously reeled in on hooks and forced to endure up to minutes on land without breathing, all in the name of sport. Many of these competitions encourage the senseless killing of these beautiful animals, with the main objective being to catch and kill the largest shark. Most recently, a shark fishing tournament was held in Palm Beach County, where fishermen killed over 9 sharks and caught and released another 100-125. Even the process of catching and releasing sharks, however, is problematic. Catch and release efforts cause sharks severe psychological stress and, in many cases, these animals die of shock. An estimated 70,000 sharks are killed in trophy hunting tournaments across the U.S. each year.

Sharks are extremely important assets to the ecosystems to which they belong. As apex predators, these animals affect all levels of the food web and, as a result, help to maintain the balance of oceanic ecosystems on a broader scale. Unfortunately, sharks are extremely overfished. In fact, wild shark populations have decreased an estimated 71% since the year 1970, and seem to be continuing on this downward trajectory. These animals typically have low fecundities, making it extremely difficult to breed them and to spur population growth.

In the face of an ever declining shark population we ask you, Ms. Coit, to please put an end to these cruel tournaments and do more to protect our worlds’ oceans and their inhabitants.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: christels

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