June 17, 2009
End the Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament
Targeted Species Face Significant Conservation Concerns
The Humane Society of the United States and Fishpond USA, a major recreational fishing products company, are calling for an end to the Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament in Montauk, N.Y. Even though shark populations face serious threats from overfishing along the East Coast, the tournament is scheduled for June 18-20.
In a letter sent to Richard Janis, general manager of the Star Island Yacht Club, John Grandy Ph.D., The HSUS' senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection, urged Janis to discontinue the inhumane shark-killing tournament for the sake of the these troubled predators and the blemished reputation of the involved communities.
"The Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament encourages ecologically damaging practices, and exploits sharks in the process by celebrating their death with large cash prizes," said Grandy. "The Humane Society of the United States calls on event organizers to end this tournament now."
Sharks caught by fishermen in tournaments suffer greatly. "Keeper" animals brought back to shore are hung and weighed, sometimes while still alive. The animals are then dismembered in front of crowds that frequently include children. Nothing could be less educational or more degrading to sharks than the cheers and jeers that greet the display and awarding of prize money for the biggest dead shark.
"Shark tournaments are a disgrace — to the environment and to the community. Montauk should stop playing host to this kind of brutality," said John Land Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond USA.
In some instances, organizers of these types of events have tried to provide a false veneer of respectability by donating shark meat to a worthy charity. However, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration advise against the consumption of all shark species by children, pregnant and nursing women due to the threat of mercury contamination.
Visit humanesociety.org/protectsharks for more information.
- The shark species caught in the Star Island tournament have ranges that extend along the East Coast into Canada, and as far away as Europe.
- According to a 2008 study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, thresher, mako and porbeagle sharks, which are frequent targets of tournaments, are threatened with worldwide extinction. Blue sharks have lost up to 70 percent of their worldwide population.
- Shark tournaments remove the largest species in a population, which effectively robs the population of the reproductively mature sharks they target. Most sharks do not reproduce until they are 15 years old or older and they bear their young alive.
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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.