It’s “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel, which makes it a good time to think about how we can be responsible shark anglers.
Shark populations worldwide have been decimated, and it has had a catastrophic effect on our ecosystem. A recent study concluded that with the population of large predator sharks declining, their prey are free to feast on lower organisms like scallops and clams, which in turn depletes valuable commercial stocks.
Patric Douglass from the Shark Diver is convinced that the reason anglers now see more Humboldt squid in the local waters is the lack of sharks.
“There used to be a giant buzz saw near Cabo San Lucas in the form of lots of sharks that are gone now,” he said. “The squid have an open door now with nothing left to stop them.”
Many anglers believe that the recent sand bass and barracuda drought was a direct result of large numbers jumbo squid in Southern California. They point to the fact that there were no Humboldt squid here this year—and this has been the best local fishing year in at least five years.
Tom Raftican from the Sportfishing Conversancy in Long Beach said it’s time for anglers to do their part to help the predators of the deep.
“We need to employ our best fishing practices to help insure a healthy shark population,” said Raftican.
Here are a few things that shark fishermen can do:
- Take only what you intend to eat
- Avoid catching large, pregnant females
- Minimize fight time by using heavy tackle and a fighting harness.
- Use circle hooks to increase the likelihood of a mouth hooking your catch
- Maneuver your boat to follow a hooked shark and gain line whenever possible.
Raftican recommends visiting the Pier Institute website for more