Since 1968, as an 18 year old fledgling gill netter and crab puller, I’ve found myself at odds with a strange group of humans. Now a semi-retired shark long-liner, I’ve spent over 40 years on the water and still I’m at odds with the same odd balls. Some call them Environmentalists, Conservationists or Tree-Huggers. In the 60’s, I called them Hippies or Dreamers. These flower-power gurus flourished in a world far from reality and when confronted with the facts, they became belligerent, intent on ramming their viewpoint down your throat. Most of them were hypocritical and simply looking for a cause. Save this…save that…the sky is falling…the world is over populated. Most all preached “harmony”, whatever that is. (Peace, love and kiss the scorpions, embrace the rattlesnakes, I think).
In my little world in those days on Siesta Key, it was Eugene Clark, Bill Mote and Dr. Perry Gilbert, love and harmony, faded jeans or prim suit, they all gathered as part of The Movement, let’s all get along. That’s only if you bought into their propaganda. If you didn’t, you were labeled a fascist or a redneck, war maker or narrow minded.
I think of myself as a realist: if it smells like shit, looks like shit…hey! It must be shit! There are many sides to any story and I try to look at the bigger picture. Take the commercial fishermen in America; like the farmer, we are always underfire from, excuse me, the Extremists. We are feeding people but They say we are raping the land and sea. Soon, your fresh grouper and your crab claws will come from other countries besides the US.
I’ll give you some facts that every American should know. One day YOUR way of life may become offensive to this “harmony group.” If you look hard enough, you’ll find out how these do-good activists sustain their way of life – they use funds from some very unlikely sources:
NOAA-National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, their Shark Management requires so-called over-fished shark stocks be rebuilt to maintain a healthy shark population. Excuse me, last time I checked these predators consumed everything available, endangered loggerhead turtles! Even humans! This is voodoo science at its worst.
The United States considers itself the international leader in tree-hugging – oops – I mean conservation and management of sharks and is one of only two nations out of 87 to develop plans of action. The other nations wonder what all the fuss is about while they’re trying to rally us into targeting something really endangered, like clean air!
“Environmentalist” George Burgess is responsible for shark attack data but is also part of the US Government observation platform to oversee shark fishing restrictions so his trailer is hitched to the US Gravy Train. Why is the fox overseeing the henhouse? He benefits by white-washing actual attack statistics worldwide, to keep his post, paid for by: you and me.
On the other side, Eugene Lapointe, president of IWMC World Conservation Trust, explains the following: pro-shark activists speak in an Orwellian voice. Their propaganda excuses sharks for attacks on humans as mistaken identity. He also says these activists almost blame the humans for provoking shark predation on man. Burgess, under the cloak of US taxpayers’ money supports what they lable as a misunderstood predator by reporting a very small portion of attacks worldwide and generating anthropomorphic propaganda. Burgess’ statistics echo this tree-hugger mentality and therefore should be regarded as dubious.
Sean Paige, of The National Post, reports that a large portion of the Save-the- Shark propaganda is financed by your tax dollars. That’s right! The Fish and Wildlife Service recently donated $200,000 to SSG Dr. Merry Camhi of the Shark Specialist Group (extremists). One Tampa news conference cost the taxpayers $32,000, largely financed by The National Marine Fisheries Service and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. All that public money spent to distribute bogus science, which attempts to upgrade sharks and downgrade human safety! Does something smell fishy here? You bet: government agencies, rent-a-scientists and Save the Ocean groups and anti-fishing foundations all are looking after their own gravy trains! And how better to do it than prey on people’s misplaced sympathies!
As a retired shark fisherman, I see deep pockets and the protection of tourist dollars at work here. Think about it. What’s more important, public safety or the protection of the economy of beach communities? Here’s a fact that the public should digest: Florida banned commercial shark fishing in 1992 and sharply curtailed recreational shark fishing (1 per person, 2 per boat), establishing defacto shark sanctuaries in coastal waters, where shark encounters are most likely to occur. And 17 years later, they’re still crying sharks are “dwindling in numbers.” How can that be?
Most of the largest and dangerous sharks I captured were hooked within 3 miles of the beach; rogue man-eaters according to actual scientists Dr. V.M Copelson and Dr. Stewart Springer. Is the federal government contributing to dangerous voodoo science? Me thinks, “yes!” Coastal tourism is a billions of dollars industry and it must be protected Dangerous sharks near shore are bad, so lets just pretend the sharks aren’t there! Politicians are protecting their cash cow and the environmentalists are propping up their agenda!
Here’s more food for thought: we haven’t learned much from the protection of alligators in Florida. Seems these sweethearts of the reptile world are getting out of control and eating Grandma’s pet poodle. Damn, where’s PETA when you need them?
Captain Bill Goldschmitt