The popular yet controversial shark fishing tournaments on the East Coast are now the target of conservationists who seek to cancel these events. Activists are focused on the upcoming Newburyport Shark and Tuna Tournament where hundreds of anglers on 30 to 50 boats are set to fish.
Massachusetts native and filmmaker Eli Roth told reporters “You’re sending a message that sharks are entertainment. We’re wiping them out for likes on Facebook and to give each other prizes. It’s completely insane. It’s senseless.”
Tournament organizer Larry Collins spoke of the tournament “Over 99% of the sharks are caught and released. The truth is last year one shark, one single shark was taken, and the angler took that home and barbecued it for he and a number of friends.” Last year, Collins claimed more than 300 sharks were caught, but almost all were released back into the water.
Gabe DiSaverio, a conservationist and owner of The Spicy Shark hot sauce company in New Hampshire was quoted saying, “A lot of times, they die from the stress of being caught. A lot of times, the hook gets swallowed, and they die from that, because it destroys them from the inside out.”
The tournament gets underway tonight, and the tournament director says he has no plans to cancel the shark portion of the event.