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