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Divers Feeding Sharks (thrill seekers are making beaches unsafe)

Sharkman of Cortez pics and News 003I’m Captain Bill Godlschmitt, I co-wrote Sharkman of Cortez. I was also featured in the award winning documentary, The Shark Con. And I was the first charter captain in Florida to offer underwater cage dives. Nearly fifty years ago. That’s right, I was the first. My charter brochure proclaimed a guaranteed, face-to-face encounter with sharks or your money back. (I never had to return any money.) All this, long before Jaws.

As I said in the Shark Con movie, “After the thrill-seekers and photographers went down in my cage and took their pictures, I killed the sharks.” And I NEVER let them interact with the sharks. No hand-feeding, no touching and no getting out of the cage. Lots of ’em wanted to push the envelope, but not on my boat. I had no shortage of eco-idiots as clients, but hand-feeding predators: sharks, gators, wolves, dinosaurs, it’s just plain stupid! Ain’t no sugar coating this –– it’s just plain stupid!

Unfortunately, divers feeding sharks see no harm in what they’re doing. The Bahamian government promotes it. The Bahamas is the shark dive capital of the world and as they proudly “protect” shark species, they are actually protecting an 80 million dollar per year shark tourism industry. Money trumping public safety.29

Pro-shark advocated claim that my beliefs are not credible but in The Shark Con, George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File, and champion of Shark Protection would not dispute my assertion that shark behavior does become altered once humans begin feeding them. In the film he was quoted, “It’s like ringing the dinner bell. The sharks swam to the boat at the sound of the revving engine.” He didn’t want to chance anybody questioning his credibility.

Human and shark interaction is not only dangerous to divers but trouble for others who use our waters for recreation. And unlike thrill-seeking shark feeders, the bathers, surfers, snorkelers and fishermen don’t have the same death-wish. The sharks featured on Shark Week (Stuart Cove, etc.) the ones protected in the Bahamas, don’t STAY in the Bahamas. THEY MIGRATE. To Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, etc. Once they are accustomed to humans feeding them, they lose their fear of humans. They become more dangerous and aggressive (Where’s my food, Human?)

Take the recent fatal shark attack of Dr. John Petty, a 63 year old thrill seeker completely eaten by tiger sharks while diving aboard The Shear Water. The boat’s operator, Jim Abernathy’s Scuba Adventures (also featured on Shark Week) had lost another diver in 2008, Lawyer Markus Groh. Abernathy himself was once a victim of attack while feeding a lemon shark. Divers who claim that what they do does not alter shark behavior are self-centered and dead wrong.

Bahamas commercial diver David Rose, a professional spear-fisherman for 40 years, says, “It’s unsafe and should be banned in the Bahamas. But the tourist lobby is so powerful in this country, they make good money doing this.”

No shit.

After the thrill-seekers get their pictures, return home and tell their friends how they cheated death, those predator sharks they leave behind (perhaps the ones that consumed Dr. Petty)will eventually find a child splashing in the water of Daytona beach. Then George Burgess can tell the Media it’s another “unprovoked attack”, and that there are “too many people in the water”, or it’s “mistaken identity” (are you a diver? Where’s my food?)

PETA, Mote Marine Lab and all the other Eco-nuts will chime in: sharks are nearly extinct, we need to save them, they’re essential to our ecosystem blah, blah, blah…but that is subject for another blog. I say,the only good shark is a dead shark!


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The Career

The Career.

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Would the American hero, Davy Crockett, have sacrificed his life defending the Alamo if he knew his government would someday eliminate his own birth-right to hunt and fish this land he so loved?

Did this great pioneer and outdoorsman see into the future before that fateful battle when he returned from Washington to his beloved home in the wilderness? Is it possible that he was disheartened by Washington politics after his fellow Tennesseans sent him to Congress in 1826? Did he believe that bureaucrats would sell out the rights of those who he was elected to represent – fellow countrymen who believed in a strong America, known around the world as a new land of Freedom, and home of the brave.

If alive today, he would see a different country from the one he gave his blood to defend. He would see hunters and fishermen from coast to coast, border-to-border, losing their jobs. Today’s America has become Land of the Lobbyist and Home of the Special Interest Group.

If Davy Crockett could’ve seen into the future from the Alamo,  he would see: Under the ruse of environmental safeguards, regulations would be put in place to bury the commercial and recreational outdoorsmen. Meanwhile, wealthy oil companies will run rough-shod over our government, resulting in the biggest environmental disaster in our country’s history. (A million commercial fishermen couldn’t do the damage that Deepwater Horizon did to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast). The public would be fed propaganda that declares, “Crisis for the world’s natural resources,” and “Doom and gloom for our future,” and unscientific theories would be pandered as fact to support their theories. The reality of back-door politics would serve many special interests for fanatical eco-organizations hellbent on self-preservation. While the country is in the midst of financial melt-down, Congress will spend their valuable time closing a loophole in commercial shark fining, an industry non-existent in America, instead of focusing on the real issues at hand.

As an outdoorsman and fisherman of four decades, I’ve withstood the never-ending claims of “the sky is falling.” I’ve seen my way of life, and the life of millions of Americans, disappear while other countries laugh at American Greed. I think Davy Crockett is turning in his grave.

God bless him and his Tennesseans!

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The Sharm Shark Mystery: why are the attacks happening?

They’re HUNGRY!!! You windbag, says Captain Bill Goldschmitt, Sharkman of Cortez. Writer Adrian Bloomfield of the U.K. Telegraph claims Geroge Burgess is the “world’s foremost chronicler of shark attacks,”  as this eco-bafoon investigates the five attacks in the Red Sea. (What does this clown think he’s going to ascertain from these attacks, other than collecting sensational headlines?) George Burgess is nothing more than an overpaid statistician sitting in a cooshie job, collecting tax-payers’ money at The Museum of Natural History in Gainsville. Last year, he stated to Eugene Lapointe, President of CITES that there were only ten shark fatalities per year, now, he’s claiming only five fatalities per year, while peddling the eco-propoganda that “70 millionsharks are slaughtered for their fins each year” by the Japanese. Georgie knows no more about shark behavior than a ballet dancer knows how to kill a wild boar in the Everglades. In my opinion, this eco-windbag is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the eco-lunatics who want to play down the dangers of sharks and upgrade them them to some God-like diety.


Sharkman of Cortez

(if you want to know the real story about sharks, read my book)

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The Scientist’s faces are turning red with embarassment as they send “shark experts” to the Red Sea to STILL proclaim, “we don’t really know why shark attacks happen.” Wow, it doesn’t take much to be granted a free plane ride (first class, maybe?) to a world class resort and a fat salary, huh?

My blogs are usually long, too long my wife says. This one… well, read all my previous blogs and essays, especially KILLER SHARKS DERAILING PROTECTIONIST’S PROPAGANDA (see link on the bottom of the home page of Sharkman of Cortez) and I’ve already said it all!! I’d love to go on and on as usual about how rediculous the envios, scientists and tourist dollar-drivenEgyption  authorities are about their shark attacks, but I have a book signing to go to, where I tell everyone the truth about sharks. Sharks are dangerous, they kill, end of story.


Captain Bill

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“Sharks don’t eat us Mommy, they’re really misunderstood,” a child says to her mother. “I know, baby,” don’t they look so cute swimming around, almost smiling at us?” Mom answers. The aquarium narrator proclaims: “Sharks have more to fear from humans, and they are essential to the world’s eco-systems.” I roll my eyes and quietly listen to the exchange between visitors at the Florida Aquarium and their “experts.” I’ve observed this protectionist “theme” at Mote Marine Aquarium, Sea World and countless other shark exhibits world-wide.

I’m Captain Bill Goldschmitt, and I captured live sharks for many of these public aquariums for nearly two decades. But I’m not a welcomed guest anymore. Why? Because they couldn’t convert me to their philosophy. I wouldn’t subscribe to this reckless deception and brainwashing of children and impressionable others. Fact is, viewing harmless shark species like nurse, zebra, bonnet head or dogfish — sharks that couldn’t bite through wet slices of pizza — hardly represent the reality of meeting a killer face-to-face. Even 3 or 4 foot black-nose or sandbar sharks, with their non-aggressive disposition, aren’t the same as an encounter with savage predators the likes of tiger, bull, lemon, oceanic white tip, Galapagos, reef, great hammerhead, or white sharks. These sharks have been responsible for human deaths. The list of other dangerous man-eaters could go on but I’m short of space.

What’s important is truth represented by facts, enabling those entering the world’s oceans to understand the actual risk. Unfortunately, eco-protectionists have their agenda and it’s not to distribute the truth. Their beliefs are based on the need to protect sharks from humans. They downplay any danger sharks pose against people while upgrading shark stature as almost god-like. One marine biologist working at an aquarium in San Francisco was filmed sporting an almost intoxicated expression as his group of merry men dumped a great white shark back into the Pacific. Fearing it would die in captivity, this lunatic decided to release it back into the wild and he was nearly in tears at the thought of being a shark savior. (Straight jackets please!) Get the picture? Shark savers, employed at these public aquariums are a growing cancer, distributing harmful propaganda they say is necessary to re-educate a confused public. Oh, really? Our children deserve a better education, not fantasy dealt out by emotional extremists.

The reality is our oceans are filled with risk. Drowning tops the list. But anyone swimming in the water, enjoying a day at the beach, could meet their worst nightmare. Not one of those harmless pizza-eaters displayed at the local aquarium but the REAL DEAL. (Sorry, Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau). Ask the parents of little Jessie Arbogast or Jamie Daigle, both victims of attacks near Pensacola, Florida, what losing a child is like. Or ask Natasha Baulina what it was like when she and her fiancé, Sergay Salucino were attacked while swimming off the east coast. Natasha was quoted in the hospital after surgery, “The shark was circling around us, taking chunks out of us. It was really meaning to eat us.” No mistaken identity there. Gary Harkin, a rescuer who pulled a dying Sergay from the surf recounted, “His foot came off in my hands and his leg was gone. There was so much gore and blood I was sickened and scared.”

These attacks ARE reality, not fantasy! One might also investigate the shark attack on ten year old David Peltier off Virginia Beach. This attack, like the others, is a heart wrenching tragedy. David’s father Richard was bitten as he tried in vain to protect his son by putting the boy onto his long (surf) board. Fighting the savagely attacking shark, his heart pounded as David cried, “Daddy, help me.” Mr. Peltier was quoted after his son received a complete, though futile, transfusion, “I knew my son was going to die.” Tears dripped from his face as he whispered “goodbye” into David’s ear. Again, quoting his father, “They (the experts) can say all they want about (attack) statistics. The odds mean absolutely nothing when it happens to you in real life. When it’s your child that takes his last breath. My son is dead.” Folks this is raw emotion coming from those who have suffered what protectionists or shark savers lightly refer to as “unfortunate accidents”! I don’t believe Mr. Peltier or any of the aforementioned shark victims travelled to Washington to lobby Congress for stricter protection of sharks. I believe the public can see through that eco-obscenity.

While watching several of those smiling sharks circling the tank at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota last week, and listening to the eco-aquarist lament about the poor sharks, I overhear one visitor remark to his wife, “It’s a f—-’ n fish for crying out loud. And they are dangerous. I know that!”
Good advice? …you bet.
Captain Bill Goldschmitt

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6 foot great hammerhead is mature enough to give birth to 22 pups

          Sharks are savage killers. They are the apex predators of all the world’s oceans. Sharks attack all prey, both large and small, and sharks kill and maim humans on every part of the globe!

            So one might ask, “Why does the eco-hysteria soap opera continue?” Shark fiction over truth is fueled by eco-hypocrisy. The jaws of State and Federal Governments such as, the National Marine Fisheries, NOAA, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission restrict fishermen (commercial and recreational) from their American birthright to fish. They created biased and unjust regulations, claiming, “the need to protect” while ignoring the facts (sharks are dangerous) and bolstering ridiculous propaganda dealt out by shark protection extremists. This is science at its worst.

            Despite evidence of increasing shark populations and shark attacks on humans worldwide, they deliver the same basic message year after year: “We must save the shark.” These agencies are dominated by eco-lunatics who don’t believe in the sustained utilization of the world’s natural resources. Eugene Lapointe, the president of IWMC World Conservation Trust, a coalition of wildlife experts, has authored an excellent book on this subject.  He, as well as many others, promote credible science that seeks truth, not the common speculations that deprive all fishermen from providing food for humanity and fishing for sport.

            As a retired commercial shark fisherman, and co-author of Sharkman of Cortez (my memoir), I have, for nearly a decade, proclaimed that these agencies and these so-called “shark experts” be held accountable for shark attacks. They are the ones responsible for restricting shark fishing, ultimately endangering public safety. Furthermore, the eco-nonsense dealt out by two of the most vocal shark protection extremists, George Burgess in Gainesville and Bobby Hueter of Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota is downright dangerous brainwashing.

These two, known by most fishermen in Florida as the Laurel and Hardy of Shark Savers, claim shark species are increasing in local waters due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fact is, bull, hammerhead, tiger and blacktip sharks have been dramatically building in numbers well before this tragedy. Clear documentation of their numbers has been registerd for the past seven years.

Russell Hudson of Daytona Beach, Director of Sustainable Fisheries states, “Sandbar sharks, (a protected species) are so prolific, they are eating hooked red snapper and amberjack before anglers can reel them in.”

Charter Captains from Tampa to St. Pete to Boca Grande fear releasing tarpon after hook-ups due to the large schools of bulls and great hammerheads during May and June migrations.

Hueter claims whale sharks appearing off Sarasota in May was “very unusual,” yet, local divers, like Marty Martell of Dive Services, have photographed these large plankton feeders near the “cuda hole” off Sarasota for nearly twenty years. His photos can be seen in tackle shops around town. (So much for “very unusual.”) Hueter goes on to say that sharks are slow growing, some need 20 years to mature sexually. He also says, “Quantifying exact shark numbers is not possible.” Then he says, “Florida sharks are down 50 percent since 1975.” Contradiction??

As a commercial fisherman, I’ve captured great hammerheads that can grow to 18 feet yet, I’ve dissected six-footers carrying 20-30 pups. Sexual maturity in 20 years? I don’t think so. Both Burgess and Hueter claim sharks are headed to extinction but I seriously doubt those two could estimate the number of virgins in the local whorehouse!

Both self-proclaimed experts wield influence over the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, which claims to be the National leader in shark conservation. Is it a coincidence that this state leads the world in shark attacks? Is anybody getting this?

Bobby Hueter was quoted, “They’re (sharks) thought to be on the same level as rattle snakes and mosquitoes. They’re something we don’t want around because they bite and eat people.” Damn! This guy could be a rocket scientist! He goes on to say, “People (Sharkman of Cortez maybe?) want to play on that myth (MYTH??) and trump up the fear factor on sharks.” Are you kidding me? Howabout asking those families devastated by shark attacks in 2010 alone if they think it’s a myth.

And finally, a quote from George Burgess on shark protection, “If sharks can be saved, we’re going to have to hope that our sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters are going to carry the torch for the next couple of generations.”

I say Heaven help anyone lost or adrift and desperately praying for rescue in Florida waters. If this shark protection continues, in these state waters, you might prefer drowning!

Captain Bill Goldschmitt

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