Sunday Spin – Shark Savers

Welcome to Sunday Spin, where I blog about life beyond the realm of writing.

Shark Photo courtesy of Terry Goss Photography.

Shark photo attributed to Terry Goss.

Last weekend my sister and I went to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard to see our brothers and their families. All around the cape and the vineyard I saw posters protesting a Monster Shark Tournament that is being held this weekend. At first I thought the tournament was directly related to the incident where a shark trailed a kayaker off the coast of Cape Cod.

But, I discovered that this is an annual tournament held in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard. This will be the 26th tourney.

I understand there are fishing tournaments of all kinds, and the shark tournament is classified as a fishing tournament. However, I can’t help thinking there is some sort of rage behind the hunt. It goes beyond pleasure or competition. And to me, that makes it wrong. The very fact people actively protest this particular tourney, and don’t protest fishing in general is a red flag.

I don’t know what the people do with the sharks once they’re caught. Perhaps they’re sold to restaurants? Sometimes, I see shark on menus. I do know that in the case of shark fin soup, only the fins are used and the shark is left to drown in the ocean. That is inhumane.

I don’t consider myself a fanatic when it comes to conservation. I mean, I enjoy my salmon, cheeseburgers, Thanksgiving turkey. But I don’t tolerate hunting for sport. And if that’s what is really going on behind the Monster Shark Tournament, then I side with the protesters.

Anyway, I found this cool site, Shark Savers, which educates people about the importance of sharks in our ecosystem. When you access the site, scroll down to the bottom to see a link where you can sign a petition to protect sharks. I hope you have fun exploring the site; there are some tidbits about mantas, too.

Don’t forget to check out the photography website of Terry Goss, too. Lots of wonderful images.

If anyone has more specific information about the Monster Shark Tournament that might shed some light, I would love to hear from you.

How do you feel about shark tournaments? Do you consider them humane or not?

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20 thoughts on “Sunday Spin – Shark Savers

  1. I’m not opposed to hunting or fishing if the purpose is to eat what’s killed. But killing solely for the “sport” or “thrill” of the hunt is something we should leave behind. And endangered and declining species shouldn’t be harvested at all. I know a lot of people who wouldn’t agree with me, though.

    Like

    • Hey JM,
      Right. It’s hard to know what is really going on with this particular tournament. I especially agree with you regarding the endangered/declining species. There has to be a limit in our “power.”

      Unfortunately, I know a few people who wouldn’t agree with me, too.

      Like

  2. I love sharks so am opposed to this most fishing contests throw back the fish alive to live another day. hunting for food is one thing killing for the sake of it is just run. I don’t even approve them hunting sharks that have attacked humans the way I see it is unless the shark stood up on its tail and ran up the beach to attack someone then it cannot be held responsible for doing what is normal in ITS natural enviroment

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    • Hi Paula,

      Your reply makes me smile, because it is so simply true in its logic. The ocean is the shark’s territory, its turf so to speak. How can we presume we have any right to curtail its natural way of life.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  3. I agree, Kate: hunting wild animals for “sport” (not for food or for culling…though I have some issues with that reason, as well) just shouldn’t exist, any more. Not just because there are so many endangered species out there (due to human interference in the ecosystem, I might add)…but because so many of these so-called “hunters” do this for the wrong reasons. They’re not humane about their kills; they just want to experience the thrill of shooting something. Shooting something, with a high-powered rifle! If you want to hunt for sport, buddy, then go out there with the same weapons and armor as your prey’s natural predators. I’m talking claws and fangs, here.

    There’s likely some hypocrisy in my argument, because I enjoy a good steak, and those cows are slaughtered. I like to think it’s balanced by buying from local farmers who have raised those animals in acceptable conditions, specifically for the purpose of being food. (That sounds horrible. But – damn! – steak is good!) Though, maybe I’m still a jerk because I’m not a vegetarian; who knows.

    Regardless, I’ll be sure to click through to the petition and information site. I’ve always liked sharks (even if it’s scary to think of one pacing me on my board…I’m in their space!).

    Thanks for the post!

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    • Hey Mayumi,

      Yeah, I know. We walk a fence when we say we oppose hunting for sport, yet we eat meat, fish, whatever. I still think it’s a fair balance. Sharks eat seals, yet I would support protection of seals from humans who might hunt them for sport.

      In other words, I respect the circle of life, but I don’t like misuse of power in the name of “superior species.” I think as the superior species, it is up to us to protect the species who are struggling for any reason, at any time.

      You get a gold star for signing the petition. The sharks thank you! 🙂

      Like

  4. I’ve not heard of this. I agree, sounds a bit “fishy” and inhumane. Being I eat meat (well, white meat, anyway), I can’t be hypocritical about animals dying for food, but if it’s for sport, as you say, I agree that’s a different matter.

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    • Hey Carrie,

      Haha, good one, it does indeed sound “fishy.” Yes, I think even though it’s a thin line we walk for those of us who are meat-eaters, our concern is about respecting earth and all its bounties.

      Thanks for swinging by.

      Like

  5. I don’t have an issue with hunting as long as the animal is plentiful and the entire animal is used by the hunter. I think I side with you about sharks.

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  6. There may originally have been some instinctive need to hunt for sport. Some animals do it, hunt and kill things that they don’t eat – it’s to do with practising their hunting skills for when they do need to use them for food, and also to teach hunting skills to their young. So this may have been something humans used to need to do, but we really don’t have that excuse any more!

    Like others have commented, I do feel a bit of a hypocrite over animal issues when I am not vegetarian – I try and justify it by saying that we are omnivores and it is therefore natural for us to eat meat, however if I had to actually kill the animals myself to eat them, then I would very quickly become a vegetarian!

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    • I guess the feeling of hypocrisy is one reason why not enough people feel they can stand up and speak out. But the more I discuss this, the more I feel like eating an animal and just killing it because we can are two different matters entirely. If the sharks are being hunted to be sold to restaurants (in its entire form, not just the fins), then I can tolerate that. But if it’s just to rid the ocean of the beast, then it’s a misuse of our power as the superior species.

      Haha, uh, yeah, I don’t think I could be the one to actually kill the animals either. I’m a wimp.

      Like

  7. I hate hunting for sport. I don’t mind people getting tags for deer and elk and stuff like that, because that is closely monitored and helps keep the herds healthy, but the shark thing sounds a little fishy.

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    • Hi Char,
      Good point, hunting herds to keep numbers down and the animals healthier makes sense to me (although they could also re-introduce wolves for that, thereby helping two species).

      Yes, the shark tourney does sound “fishy” 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  8. I hadn’t heard of a shark tourney. Sounds barbaric, without knowing too much about it.

    I’m an omnivore, like many of your commenters, so I realize my comment may be beside the point. I am terrified of sharks but still jump around in the ocean. I understand that they are meant to be there, and I would never attempt to kill one (yikes). Live and let live is what I try to ascribe to… but I do still eat meat (and try not to waste it).

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    • Hey Anne, I agree. We all need to share the earth, so the idea of forcing out a species simply because of fear or an abuse of power makes me livid. But it is a different matter if the sharks are being killed for meat (not shark fin soup). I feel like that is fair play. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  9. Thank you for putting up that petition – I’ll make sure to sign it. I don’t know much about this tournament since I’d never go to it, but sadly I think the reason it’s still going on is that it brings thousands more people to MV than are already there on a normal summer weekend. I’ve heard it’s the largest money-making weekend of the summer. Oceana (oceana.org) also has a lot of petitions and letters to politicians to help the ocean and ocean life in different ways. Sometimes when I’m frustrated by these things I just start signing petitions since it seems like it’s the only way to create any kind of change. Thanks again for putting that up!

    Like

    • Hi Sheila,
      I thought of you when I wrote this post. I’m so glad you stopped by to read it. You have shed some light on the mystery. Tourism. Of course. How silly of me! Well, it is too bad that people get their kicks out of a tournament where life is at stake. Doesn’t make sense at all. I’m happy you’re signing the petition. I agree that sometimes it is the only way to create change, getting our voices out there because the sharks can’t speak for themselves.

      Like

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