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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Humane Society of the United States and Fishpond, Inc., a prominent outdoor and fishing equipment retailer, urge an end to commercial shark killing tournaments along the East Coast.
The HSUS sent letters on Friday to the organizers of the South Jersey Shark Tournament in Cape May, N.J.; the Downeast Maine Shark Tournament in Biddeford, Maine; the Freeport Hudson Anglers Shark Tournament in Freeport, N.Y.; the Mako Mania Shark Tournament and Ocean City Shark Tournament in Ocean City, Md.; the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament in Oak Bluffs, Mass.; and the Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament in Montauk Point, N.Y. The HSUS also wrote to the organizers of the Cape May Shark Tournament in Cape May, N.J., on Tuesday.
Sharks are imperiled worldwide. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, thresher, mako and porbeagle sharks, which are common targets of tournaments, are threatened with worldwide extinction. Blue sharks have lost as much as 70 percent of their worldwide population.
Commercial shark tournaments are wasteful contests where many sharks are hooked, bled or gaffed. "Keeper" animals are hauled out of the ocean, strung up and often dismembered in front of crowds that frequently include children. Contestants do this to earn bragging rights and win prize money.
"Shark tournaments glorify the suffering and death of these ecologically important animals," said John W. Grandy, Ph.D., The HSUS' senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection. "It's time to end these shark tournaments, for the sake of sharks and the environment."
John Land Le Coq, co-founder of Fishpond, Inc. said, "These tournaments encourage people to kill sharks for prizes without regard to the fragility of our environment or respect for life. It is completely unacceptable for us as a fishing products company to condone this insensitive and environmentally irresponsible public display of an aquatic species."