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Florida Shark Tournament Draws Criticism After Hammerhead Mutilated, Pregnant Tiger Caught; 'Gruesome'

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DESTIN, Florida -- The Destin Florida Shark Tournament has drawn the ire of animal rights groups after a hammerhead shark was mutilated and a pregnant tiger shark was caught during the tournament.

The Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal protection society in the U.S., has written letters to Destin Mayor Craig Barker, and other town leaders, to stop future tournaments, which the HSUS deems to be cruel.

In a letter sent by e-mail and mail today to Barker and the town leaders, John Grandy, Ph.D., senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection for The HSUS, wrote:

A “hammerhead suffered injuries and mutilation so severe that it was disqualified from the tournament. Yet the public, including children, were treated to viewing the severely mutilated corpse, as well as the gaff, which had reportedly inflicted many of the wounds. This gruesome carnage can do nothing positive for the museum or enhancing the reputation of Destin.”

Before the tournament took place, the HSUS had sent a letter asking that it be stopped, and the organization also flew a banner over the Destin harbor and advertised in local media.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

11 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

hope the persons responsible for this falls off the stinking boat next time , then maybe a big shark can use it's god given NATURAL abilities to inflict a little mutilation itself! I mean natural as in NOT A DUMB A_ _ fisherman using a knife or whatever to make himself feel BIGGER or STRONGER than the fish! I'm talkin about a true ruler of the ocean doing what it must to TRY and survive.
   comment# 1   - mark h. · u.s.a. · Jun 15, 2007 @ 7:03pm

When will people get it, we are the true rulers of all the world. They are just fish, and putting them on the same level as Humans shows what a whack job you must be. To even suggest someone should be killed by a shark because you disagree with someones personal actions is unreal.
   comment# 2   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska Texas · Jun 16, 2007 @ 9:00am

Hey knuckleheads.......actually humans are the ones who are the killing machines of the world. It's not the sport of fishing that bothers the protesters, it's the pathetic rednecks who still don't know how to fish. It's unreal that most of these people were born with a fishing pole in their hands yet still don't know how to properly release a shark THAT IS UNREAL MR. ROLIN! Humans are greedy selfish pigs, take a look at the world around you pal.
   comment# 3   - Mike J · Aberdeen,NJ · Apr 17, 2008 @ 5:22am

I look and I don't like what I see pal,If you think that someone in this story should die then you are the knucklehead . Yes humans can be greedy selfish pigs and even some fishermen and hunters fall into this group but its a small percentage.
   comment# 4   - Robert Rolin · Onalaska, Texas · Apr 23, 2008 @ 9:01pm

I agree with Robert. People need to stop wishing death upon others just because they have different opinions or ideals.
   comment# 5   - the next president · inside your mind · Dec 18, 2008 @ 8:12am

I agree with Mike J.- I heard a comment someone made years ago and It really opened my eyes- "Man is the most deliberate parasite on this planet..." We are misfits in the natural ecological cycle-we are the murderers-the destroyers. Killing anything just because we can is sick- like people who will chop up any snake-"cuz thayre evul"! There is a reason why all these animals live here,to maintain a type of balance.There are those of us who are slightly more evolved and civilized than others -pointing out these wrongs without personally attacking each other is a better way to bring change, bring attention to these wrongs and it helps bring a collective understanding of how things should be.
   comment# 6   - Dave Dixon · Carolina Beach,NC · Dec 19, 2008 @ 11:06am

"big shark can use it's god given NATURAL abilities" Human innovation is a G-d given natural ability...and is what has enabled us to build fishing poles and reels, as well as boats with internal combustion injuries. "fisherman using a knife" A gaff is not a knife and is not used to inflict unecessary injuries. It is a tool essential to landing large dangerous fish, be it for personal sustinence or commercial livelihood. "or whatever to make himself feel BIGGER or STRONGER than the fish" Again, it is an essential tool to land large fish of this nature. Do you also believe poor people in third world countries who depend on fishing to survive shouldn't be able to use a gaff so they can eat? The injuries inflicted by the gaff weren't to make the fisherman feel "bigger or stronger"; in fact it was the shark showing that he is the one who is "bigger and stronger" when he obviously swam free of the gaff on multiple occasions. But then again if you knew the facts before passing judgment you wouldn't jump to conclusions and would realize those injuries were because the shark was showing who was really the boss.
   comment# 7   - Jason · United States · Jun 26, 2009 @ 9:48pm

Just have catch and release, why is that so hard to do? Guy Harvey had a successfull one recently. There's no reason for the killing anymore for a lousy tournament. We've got to mature up finally and move on from this crap.
   comment# 8   - Glen Pla · St. Petersburg, Fl. · Jul 14, 2010 @ 1:11pm

i agree with glen pla they need 2 grown up its about time we moved on from the childess shark killing games. my sons 7 months old and i hope he can see a live shark before sad acts like these kill them all save the seadogs
   comment# 9   - gary · belfast northern ireland uk · Aug 28, 2010 @ 6:37am

Seems a polarizing discussion (redneck idiots on one side, citing a biblical misquote, lobbying for their right to kill anything that moves v. educated animal rights folks - arguing that minnows should have voting rights). I guess if NAMBLA still exists, either side of the normative spectrum can be argued. The economic realities are less arguable. The world's fisheries are severely depleted - scores of key species face extinction this decade. Lack of international coordination and greedy, get it while it is here, fishing companies exacerbate the problem. Commercial and recreational fisheries need to recognize reality and shape their policies accordingly. It is true that whether you get off on hacking a helpless shark to pieces or you just happen to like a rainbow roll with sake, you are a part of the problem. But only policy makers can save our fisheries - one person giving up sushi on saturday night won't do it. A national policy restricting the number of boats, the times they fish, and the types and number of fish they can take will make a difference. For sport fishing, requiring catch and release and charging a substantial fee for any fish kept or killed is a logical policy response to reality. It recognizes the fact that fisheries are a finite natural resource - if we keep treating them as if they were infinite, we will again be reminded of our error.
   comment# 10   - Jim · Charleston, SC · Dec 30, 2011 @ 4:54pm

Shoot and stomp them starlings. Run them buffalo off a cliff for their hides. Eat those dodo birds, shoot those tasmanian wolves (and red wolves), kill that last tiger, harpoon that last humpback whale, and catch that last bluefin tuna. Don't worry about it - they are just animals - they are infinite. The person who kills it has the right to it - if it goes extinct, it is no loss to the rest of the world. No one else cares if their kids never see a whale, or tiger, or wolf - we've never seen a T-Rex either so who cares if today's animals go extinct? Who cares if our grandkids not only never go fishing but never even taste fish because there are none left? It is all about the individual killing as many of whatever he feels like killing with any technology he has available - whether fishfinder, sonar, .308, or dynamite. Kill everything, eat your seed-corn, and who cares about future generations. Yeah - people really are this stupid.
   comment# 11   - Jim · Charleston, SC · Dec 30, 2011 @ 5:05pm
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