Shark Free Marinas openly supports Catch and Release fishing. In saying that we are not encouraging every want-to-be shark hauler to buy tackle and hook in, but we are recognizing that the sport of Shark Fishing is a thriving and money making industry. In fact many shark fishing competitions and helpful fishermen aid in our scientific knowledge of the populations and health status of these animals by allowing us to study them up close and implant tags.
That said the existence of IGFA records essentially puts a bounty on the heads of mature sharks and we find this to be in contrast to the usual respect fishermen have for the ocean:
Englewood Capt. Bucky Dennis believes he has caught another world record hammerhead shark at Boca Grande Pass. It’s not as big as the all-tackle record 1,280-pounder he caught two years ago, but at 1,060 pounds, it should smash the current record for 80-pound test line by 440 pounds.
Dennis speculated it will be the last big hammerhead he kills.
“The record was 620 pounds, and I let a lot of sharks go that are bigger than that every year. I figured if I could do it, I’d just go ahead and do one more, and top off the record.
“If I could catch an 18- or 20-footer, I’d probably do that to make sure no one could break the (all-tackle) record. But other than that, I think I’m through with killing the big sharks.”
Dennis is aware of the controversy he stirs by killing the large female hammerheads that come to feed on tarpon at Boca Grande. When scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota dissected his previous record, a 14-footer, they found 55 unborn pups inside. Source
This Hammerhead shark is a 13ft gravid (pregnant) female. There is no scientific reason for this shark to be killed and due to it's size it would not be good, or even healthy, to eat. This is a total waste of a breeding adult Hammerhead... a species currently listed as Threatened
The shark was 13 feet, 6 inches long, with a girth of 7 feet, 2 inches. It was officially weighed on the certified scale at the Boca Grande Causeway, by first weighing the boat trailer on which it was transported, and then weighing the shark on the trailer.
Regardless of the captains donation of the carcass to science and his long history of catch and release fishing it is acts such as this that will be prevented by a Shark Free Marina. Without the marinas permission to haul and weigh the fish we anticipate records being measured in different ways such as official photos or boat side measurements.
This incident is not necessarily as sad as it is an example of the need for responsible management of our shark poulations. We can be as empathetic as the next shark lover but we are opposed to this on a very simple and basic level: This shark belongs to a Threatened Species and was of breeding age (pregnant in fact), it should have been released.