Yesterday’s esquire.com mako shark recipes were pretty outrageous, but it reminded us of another shocking shark story that’s worth remembering this shark week. A few years ago, a 1,280-pound pregnant hammerhead shark was killed in Florida in the name of “sport fishing”, with 55 mini-hammerheads still in her womb.
This record-breaking hammerhead was caught off Boca Grande, FL, after struggling for hours. Female sharks are often caught as record-breakers in sport fisheries; they are often so heavy precisely because they are pregnant! This not-so-little lady was 40 or 50 years old and due to give birth any day, with the largest number of shark pups scientists have ever seen.
Killing sharks to win a spot in a record book is unfortunate, as these slow growers can’t sustain their populations against high fishing pressure. We like catch and release models much better, like the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge in Florida, in which scientists tag all sharks caught and fishermen release them back into the water.
In good news for these sharks in Florida, a proposal is moving forward to prohibit killing hammerheads (and tiger sharks) in state waters. Staff of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will present this recommendation to the state wildlife commission next month.
Kudos to our devoted Florida Wavemakers who helped make this key step a reality! We’ll keep you posted on the outcomes; with a victory, any record-breaking pregnant sharks and her babies will remain in the oceans where they belong, and not on a lab table.
Take action to protect hammmerheads if you haven’t already!