Finding a reasonable balance between conservation and our right to fish for sharks is one of our primary goals.We ask all interested parties to join us as we rally to push for responsible shark fishing practices and protection of our fishing rights.
WE RECIEVED THIS POST YESTERDAY(Friday Feb10,2012) BY A USER NOT REGISTERED ON THIS SITE HIS NAME ID DAVID SHIFFMAN. WE DECIDED TO GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO VOICE HIS VIEWS.
Re: My first/biggest Hammerhead... 14ft 2inches
by David Shiffman » Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:04 pm
This post is waiting for approval
Hello, South Florida Shark Club. My name is David Shiffman, and I'm a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami studying sharks.
I want to address some recent comments regarding whether or not it was legal for this to happen. PhysicsMan (a colleague of mine who heard of this issue from me) posted that catching the shark in this way was illegal, William the site administrator claimed that it was legal because only harvest is illegal. That interpretation is not correct.
From the Florida code: "68B-44.008 Prohibited Species; Prohibition of Harvest, Landing, and Sale (1) No person shall harvest, possess, LAND, purchase, sell, or exchange any or any part of these species ...(k) Great hammerhead – Sphyrna mokarran. (emphasis mine)
68B-44.002 Definitions (excerpt). ...(3) “Harvest” means the catching or taking of a marine organism by any means whatsoever, followed by a reduction of such organism to possession. Marine organisms that are CAUGHT BUT IMMEDIATELY RETURNED TO THE WATER free, ALIVE AND UNHARMED are not harvested. ...(5) “LAND,” when used in connection with the harvest of marine organisms, means THE PHYSICAL ACT OF BRINGING THE ORGANISM ASHORE." (Emphasis in CAPS is mine).
YES DAVID "LAND THE PHYSICAL ACT OF BRINGING THE ORGANISM ASHORE."MEANS EXACTLY THAT BRINGING THE ORGANISM ASHORE FROM A 'BOAT' IN WHICH CASE THE SHARK WOULD BE DEAD BY THE TIME IT ARRIVES ON SHORE/LAND/DOCK etc,etc and THAT WOULD CONSTITUTE A HARVEST AND THE PERPITRATOR IS SUBJECT TO ARREST AND FINES.WE ARE LAND-BASED FISHERMEN AND BEING THAT WE FISH FROM LAND WE MUST "LAND" OUR FISH TO EITHER HARVEST OR RELEASE WHATEVER WE HAPPEN TO CATCH.AS LAND-BASED FISHERMEN THE PROPER WAY AND ACCEPTED METHOD OF RELEASING A SHARK QUICKLY AND EFFECTIVELY WOULD BE TO REMOVE THE HOOKS AND FREE THE ANIMAL BACK INTO THE OCEAN AND THAT OFTEN ENTAILS THAT WE REVIVE THE SHARK BY WALKING IT WITH WATER FLOWING OVER IT'S GILLS UNTIL IT REGAINS STRENGTH AND SWIMS AWAY.IF AS YOU SUGGEST(not FWC policy policy or law) WE CUT THE LINE THE MOMENT WE SEE WHAT SPECIES OF SHARK WE HAVE HOOKED THAT SHARK COULD SINK TO THE BOTTOM AND DIE OR SWIM AWAY WITH A 20 FOOT CABLE OR WIRE LEADER ATTACHED TO 130 T0 200 LB TESTAND THEN THAT RIG OR LINE COULD GET SNAGGED ON A REEF AND CONDEMN A SHARK TO A SLOW SPIRALING DEATH AROUND A CORAL HEAD OR EVEN A LOBSTER TRAP OR CHANNEL MARKER.NOT A VERY SMART SUGGESTION DAVID .WE WORK VERY HARD TO SAVE THE SHARKS WE CATCH JUST AS TARPON FISHERMEN AND BILLFISH FISHERMEN SWIM THERE FISH TO GET WATER FLOWING OVER THE GILLS AND ASSURE THE FISH WILL SURVIVE WE PRACTICE THE SAME METHOD AND DESERVE THE SAME RESPECT FOR OUR EFFORTS.IT IS THE CORRCT AND PROPER WAY TO CONTINUE SPORTFISHING PRACTICES AND GLOBALLY ACCEPTED SO. TO SUGGEST OTHERWISE WOULD DEMAND A LARGE CONSENSUS THAT WOULD NOT BE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BECAUSE AS WE ALL KNOW FISH AND SHARKS NEED OUR HELP IN RECOVERING AFTER A PROLONGED BATTLE ON A FISHING LINE .I BELIEVE WE CAN MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT BY WORKING WITH OTHER NATIONS THROUGH ECONOMIC SANCTIONS IF NEED BE TO MOTIVATE THEM TO ELIMINATE THERE SHARK LONGLINING FLEETS.WE MUST NOT BECOME MYOPIC TO THE BIG PICTURE OF SHARK'S DEPLETING STOCKS AND BE SINCERE IN HOW WE CAN TRULY HELP THEM REBOUND,,,,,,which does not include picking on a hometown youth practicing a sport in a backyard that has become a concrete jungle . WE HAVE BEEN PRACTICING OUR SPORT FOR DECADES AND ARE AWARE OF THE NEED TO ACT MORE EFFECTIVELY TO ENCOURAGE CHANGE IN COMMERCIAL FISHING POLICIES AROUND THE WORLD--THIS SHOULD BE OUR FOCUS AND THE DIRECTION WE MOVE IN.
William, you are incorrect that the law only makes it illegal to "harvest". It clearly states "harvest, possess, LAND, purchase, sell, or exchange." Obviously the angler in this case made no attempt to harvest, that's not the issue here.
SlasherX (sorry, I do not know your real name) brought the shark ashore, did not release it immediately, and did not release it "alive and unharmed". If you had to spend a significant amount of time trying to resuscitate it, it was not unharmed. It you were able to safely stand next to a 14 foot long wild animal without five or six strong people holding it down, it was not unharmed, it was seriously harmed and near-death.
EVERY GAMEFISH INCLUDING BILLFISH,TARPON ,TUNA AND OTHERS ARE HARMED DURING A STRUGGLE ON AN ANGLERS LINE ,BUT AS RESPONSIBLE SPORTSMAN IT IS OUR DUTY TO ENSURE A RELEASED FISH SURVIVES.DAVID WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER WHAT SHARK SPECIES TAKES OUR BAIT SO WE FIGHT A FISH AND IN THE END WE SEE ON THE SHORELINE WHAT WE HAVE HOOKED AND AT THAT TIME WE DETERMINE HOW WE WILL ACT DEPENDING ON SPECIES.WITH HAMMERHEADS WE KNOW WE MUST ACT QUICKLY TO RELEASE THE ANIMAL ALIVE AND WE FEEL HONORED TO "REVIVE" A TIRED AND SPENT HAMMERHEAD,,,,,,,YOU DON'T SUGGEST WE CUT THE LINE AND ALLOW THE SHARK TO SINK TO THE BOTTOM AND DIE DO YOU?IT SURE SEEMS THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING.IT IS POLICY AND THE WAY WE FISH TO WALK AND REVIVE AS IT IS YOURS AT RSMAS AND RJDUNLOP TO PLACE A HOSE AND RUN WATER OVER A SHARKS GILS TO REVIVE. WE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO REVIVE AND MAKE SURE THAT EVERY RELEASED SHARK WILL SURVIVE.OUR REVIVAL EFFORTS MAY INCLUDE SPENDING A LONG TIME WALKING A LARGE HAMMERHEAD WHICH YOUNG MARK RESTO DID .HIS EFFORTS ARE NOTEWORTHY AND WE COMMEND HIM ON THE RELEASE AND DILLIGENT EFFORTS TO ENSURE THE SHARK'S RECUPERATION. A STRUGGLING HOOKED FISH REGARDLESS OF SPECIES WILL SUFFER DURING A FIGHT IT IS INEVITABLE.FISHING BY IT'S VERY NATURE IS A SAVAGE ENDEVOUR ;YOU PUT A HOOK IN A FISH AND IT STRUGGLES AND PULLS LINE OFF A REEL THAT IS THE THRILL IN FISHING AND THIS NATION WAS BUILT ON A TRADITION OF HUNTING AND FISHING AND THAT WILL NOT CHANGE ALTHOUGH SOME WOULD ATTEMPT TO COMPLETELY RESTRICT OUR SPORTING LIFESTYLE . THE BEST THAT WE CAN DO IS TRY AND PURSUADE NATIONS INVOLVED IN MASS LONGLINING OF IMPORTANT SPECIES SUCH AS THE BILLFISH .TUNAS AND SHARKS TO STOP THERE PRACTICES THAT ARE WIPING OUT THE OCEANS OF VITAL SPECIES BUT NO IT IS MUCH EASIER TO GO AFTER LOCAL FISHERMEN .
From our lab's extensive research with hammerhead sharks, I can tell you that hammerheads respond particularly poorly to stress, and do not recover well. In our expert opinion, based on the photographs of the animal and your description of the incident, the shark likely did not survive the stress of capture. Once they get to the point where it requires walking them back and forth to get them to swim, these sharks rarely survive (this is not the case with all species, but it is the case with large hammerheads). Though the regulations do not specify fight time, our research indicates that a great hammerhead cannot survive an hour-long fight.
WE HAVE FIRST HAND EXPIERIENCE OVER 4 DECADES OF PRACTICING OUR SPORT AND NOT EVERY HAMMERHEAD WILL REACT THE SAME AFTER A PROLONGED FIGHT SOME WILL NEED WALKING AND RIGHTFULLY SO UNLESS YOU SUGGEST WE LET THE SHARK SINK AND DIE WHICH WOULD NOT BE GOOD POLICY FOR ANY FISH ANYWHERE.AGAIN WHEN WE FISH WE HAVE VERY LITTLE CONTROL AS TO WHAT SPECIES OF SHARK BITES OUR BAIT.WE OFTEN CATCH OTHER PROTECTED SPECIES SUCH AS LEMON AND SANDBAR SHARKS AND WE HAVE TO BEACH THEM ,REMOVE THE HOOK AND RELEASE SO WHY WOULD THE POLICY BE ANY DIFFERENT .WE ACT QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE TO RELEASETHE SHARK BACK INTO THE WILD.ANY RELEASED FISH OR SHARK WILL BLEED UPON RELEASE AND ARE VULNERABLE TO OTHER SHARKS ATTACKING THEM IT IS THE WAY OF THE WILD.SHOULD WE BAN ALL FISHING AND BECOME VEGETARIANS?
We do not believe that you willfully and maliciously broke the rules, SlasherX, but the rules were broken and the consequence is most likely the death of a member of an endangered species. You appear to have made what was, to the best of your knowledge, a good-faith attempt to use the best practices you were aware of to release the animal unharmed. This appears to be a case of a well-intentioned angler being unaware of the newest rules, regulations, and best practices. It presents us with a useful opportunity to clarify the new regulations and practices for the education of all conservation-minded anglers.
THE ONE UNAWARE OF THE LATEST LAW CHANGES IS YOU DAVID SHIFFMAN EVEN PHD STUDENTS MAKE MISTAKES AS CLEARLY EVIDENCED HERE.WE BELIEVE AND KNOW FROM OUR EXPIERIENCE THAT THE BEST RELEASE PRACTICE IS TO WALK AN EXHAUSTED SHARK UNTIL REGAINS IT'S STRENGTH AND SWIMS AWAY.WE ARE CONVERSATION MINDED ANGLERS WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN MANY OPEN FORUMS TO DISCUSS SHARK LAWS AND WE HOPE THAT SENSIBLE PRACTICES AND LAWS WILL CONTINUE TO BE RESPECTED BUT WE WILL NOT BE OPEN TO ATTACKS BY GROUPS WHO'S PURPOSE SEEMS TO BE TO DEMONIZE OUR SPORT AND IT'S ANGLERS.YOU WANT SHARKS TO BE CUT LOOSE TO FLOUDER TO THE BOTTOM WIRE RIG AND STRONG LINE TRAILING AND YOU CALL "latest best practices" ??THINK WHAT YOU ARE SUGGESTING HERE DAVID.
I write for one of the most widely read marine biology blogs on the internet, and I am planning on writing a story about this issue. SlasherX, I would appreciate it if you would be willing to speak with me (via e-mail) about this incident, on the record (for the blog post) and/or off the record for your own knowledge. We'd like to frame the post as a way to clarify best practices, and have no interest in demonizing someone who was merely unaware of the latest best practices. I will be publishing the story soon regardless of whether you would like to comment, and I will happily share the link with the South Florida Shark Club once it's online. I always welcome respectful discussion.
My e-mail address is WhySharksMatter at Gmail dot com . Please contact me, SlasherX and anyone else interested in discussing best practices. If any regular posters to this forum know how to get in touch with SlasherX directly I would appreciate it if you could inform him that I'm interested in speaking to him.
In general, if your goal is to help promote the survival of this endangered species, I would encourage anglers to cut the line as soon as possible after you have identified that the shark you've caught is a great or scalloped hammerhead. It would be ideal to leave as little line as possible attached to the hook, but getting it free and swimming away quickly is critical for the animal to survive. Members of this endangered species typically cannot survive a prolonged fight, and typically cannot survive being restrained for long.
WE ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE SURVIVAL OF THREATENED SPECIES BUT FEEL IT IS TRULY IN THE SHARK'S BEST INTEREST TO ACT ON A LARGER SCALE TO EFFECTIVELY ENCOURAGE CHANGE IN FISHING PRACTICES AROUND THE WORLD WHERE THE SHARKS ARE BEING DECIMATED ON LONGLINES BY THE MILLIONS MR DAVID SHIFFMAN.THIS IS MUCH HARDER AND TAKES MUCH MORE EFFORT AND RISK TO A PHD STUDENT OR EVEN A NATION WANTING TO INFLUENCE OTHER LESS ECONOMICALLY FORTUNATE ONES.THIS WORK WOULD BE THE WORK OF A REAL HERO SUCH AS PAUL WATSON IN WHALE WARS WHO WE APPLAUD FOR BEING A MAN OF ACTION NOT EMPTY WORDS.DAVID PUT FORWARD EFFORT, MONEY,TIME AND EXTEREME EFFORT AND WE CAN SOMEDAY BE PROUD OF YOU AS WELL .FILL YOURSELF WITH VALOR TO IMPLEMENT SOME REAL AND EFFECTIVE CHANGE .BE A HERO NOT A ZERO & REMEMBER GREAT VALOR IS NEEDED FOR ANY Great AND MEANINGFULFight. I welcome respectful discussion about best practices and the policies behind them.
Sincerely, David Shifman Ph.D. student, University of Miami WhySharksMatter AT Gmail DOT com
SOUTH FLORIDA SHARK CLUB -President SFSC-Founding Member est 1983 SFSC-Website Administrator BIG HAMMER SHARK TOURNAMENT -Founder Rene Memorial Sharkathon -Founder NMFS Shark Tagger
mark did every thing in his power to insure that beautiful hammer swam away. as for david just because you have a phd and you study a animal in the wild does not mean you know more about a fish or any animal then some one that has actually dealed with them on the beach. he just knows the science behind them and not how they act when they are hooked and released. we will always be under attack for our sport. if we are on the beach some times we do "land" our sharks by dragging them on the beach. but in marks case or by the photos atleast he did not land it it was in the water the whole time well pics were takin and hook/hooks removed.
Well written response Will, another example of booksmart with no experience. Whatever the 'law' says, it would be hard to prosecute when the fish swam away and was not left on a beach. Shark was never out of water. Regardless of the law, I will continue to revive and release sharks the way I was taught, because I have seen it work time and time again with that dorsal disappearing into the ocean.
Chris Fronczek Pharm.D Student, University of Florida
This is an e-mai that I sent to David and several other people involved with this issue:
I am a UM Student and have been working in Dr. Ault’s lab for the past four years, and I am also the Tagging and Fishing Science Coordinator for the South Florida Shark Club. I appreciate that you have written one of the most constructive letters written to us from the shark advocacy community. On several occasions in the past, this club has received some unnecessarily rude and condemning blog posts, e-mails, and sometimes even slanderous accounts in city halls regarding our shark fishing. I emphasize this point so that that you understand the level of distrust that has accumulated in the angling community to amount itself against programs like RJ Dunlap. This is a problem that needs to be solved. Media related outrage is an effective method of garnering aggressive support and for funding research, but I would like to propose that it is not the most efficient method for real constructive change.
It is our goal at the South Florida Shark Club, that the shark advocacy community realizes this club is not a band of foes, but an allied army. This army is armed with a thirst for knowledge about sharks, and a mutual interest in their protection. We love sharks just as much as you do, and spend just as much time amongst them and with them in our mind.
Let us begin a new chapter in shark conservation, by beginning to draft a proposal for a conventional tagging program together. My organization Bullbuster For Tomorrow will volunteer to keep the tag database up to date and can put together funding for this important project. The South Florida Shark Club, Bullbuster For Tomorrow, and The Rj Dunlap program can work together to develop the most effective methods for catch and release fishing for sharks.
All of us won a victory recently when “In order to aid in the recovery of these sharks and ensure they are protected for future generations, the FWC is prohibiting the harvest and possession of tiger sharks and great, smooth and scalloped hammerheads caught in state waters beginning January 1, 2012.
Anglers are still allowed to catch and release all species of sharks and to harvest hammerheads and tiger sharks from federal waters. However, any tiger shark or great, scalloped or smooth hammerhead harvested from federal waters must be brought directly back to land, without stopping in state waters.
The FWC is also urging anglers to exercise caution when handling and releasing sharks. Shark fishing is becoming increasingly popular, making the survival of released sharks even more important. The FWC strongly encourages anglers to use non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks when fishing for sharks and urges anglers to cut the line or leader as close to the hook as possible (leaving the hook in place) if the hook cannot be easily removed without endangering the angler or the shark. Both shore and vessel based anglers who plan to release a large shark are encouraged to keep the shark in the water at all times and to release it unharmed as quickly as possible. http://www.eregulations.com/florida/fis ... al-sharks/
Our newly embellished shark advocacy army can work to make similar changes for federal laws through media, and grass roots promotions, and ultimately by leading by example. I hope that all recipients of this e-mail accept my invitation to become part of a joint venture.
What my catch seems to be doing is bringing about a more accurate and steadfast response and communication between the angling community and the provisional and permanent law makers. There must be compromise between the two in this country of growing democracy and I am willing to talk to anyone as it fits into my busy schedule between school and extracurricular activities.
I will make an attempt to talk to David Shiffman and help him with more details that he needs for his investigation and report. One thing I would like to clear up is what Mr. Shiffman implied in regards to "you were able to safely stand next to a 14 foot long wild animal without five or six strong people holding it down". On the contrary, there was no safety for me in this matter. I stood next to a shark that for the most part was making wild swings in attempt to dehook itself, swim off, or bite me. The only picture that shows remotely of this sharks actions was the following:
From this view it can be seen that the sharks tail was causing a swirl and breaking of the water around it, its fin was twisted in the turning attempt, swirls may also be faintly seen near the hammer-like structure of its head, and massive muscles around the gills were being flexed.
That shark was an intelligent creature and more than likely older than myself. I tend to respect my elders and help them out to the best of my abilities. I could tell that this shark was aching and was trying to curl up into a C shape in order to stretch and that it was under a load of stress. Dan and I worked quickly to photograph, clip away as much of the rigging as possible, and get the shark back into the water flow. The tide was incoming so we started by walking the shark against the tide which helped the flow of water throughout its gills. We repeated a few laps of walking back and forth with the shark. Our backs were severely aching from the sheer weight of this fish. Dan reminded me that from the extensive fight the shark had probably built up a ton of lactic acid within its muscles; so the second part of my plan was to get those muscles moving as best as I could, I held the shark by the hammer-like structure being careful not to poke it in the eye and I swayed its head back and forth, un-stiffening muscles and getting even more water flowing throughout the gills. Dan was responsibly swaying its tail and tail-end of the sharks body to also help release lactic acid and stiffness. The shark broke free from us 3-times but we quickly retrieved it and continued the walking process because I did not feel the animal was strong enough to survive at the moment. We ran into several spotted eagle rays and southern stingrays in the process (one of which I came within inches of stepping on... so please don't tell me this process was not harmful to me.)
It had been somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour of rejuvenating the hammerhead and it was finally so strong it nearly knocked me over on its last attempt to break free and it started swimming towards the deeper water in the right direction. With the last burst of adrenaline from deep within my body I grabbed the sharks tail-end region and ran full speed thrusting the hammerhead into the abyss. It swam away quite strong in comparison to you and your fellow researchers assumed hypothesis on the fate of the shark.
Has anybody else noticed how Mr. PHD spelled is name "Shiffman" in his introduction, then spelled it "Shifman" at the end? "Best Practice" would be for him to take a few extra semesters at UM and learn how to spell his name and how to interpret the law before wrongfully accusing anybody of breaking it. Mr. Shifman, or Shiffman, there is a big difference between knowing about a subject and regurgitating the misinformation you have gathered on the way to earning your Player Hater Degree. In fact you might want to be careful about who you slander..the wrong person may be inclined to seek legal action against you as a result of your ignorance.