June 4, 2009
Ocean City's Mako Mania Shark Tournament Cruel and Wasteful
With the world's shark populations in great distress, The Humane Society of the United States condemns the 13th annual Mako Mania Shark Tournament scheduled for June 5-7 in Ocean City, Md.
"These bloody, wasteful spectacles encourage the notion that the only good shark is a dead shark," said Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection for The Humane Society of the United States. "Mako shark populations are in rapid decline across the globe, yet this tournament celebrates their death with cash prizes. The Humane Society of the United States calls on the organizers of the Mako Mania Shark Tournament to discontinue this event."
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.
Dr. Robert Hueter, director of the famed Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research, has gone on record against sport fishing for sharks, stating, "We ask fishermen not to kill sharks for sport and to remember that shark populations have been severely depleted by over-fishing."
Mako Mania organizers boasted in an article posted on delmarvanow.com that they don't enforce International Game Fish Association rules — even when it comes to using firearms on the water, further evidence of the renegade, anything-goes attitude of those involved with this unsavory tournament.
More information is available here.
- The International Union for the Conservation of Nature considers the mako shark, as well as the thresher shark that is often caught during the Mako Mania tournament, threatened with global extinction, and there is pressure on the U.S. government to follow suit.
- The shark species caught in the Mako Mania tournament have ranges that extend along the East Coast into Canada, and as far away as Europe.
- Shark tournaments remove the largest species in a population, which effectively robs the population of the reproductively mature sharks they target. Most sharks don't 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.