Chasing sharks toward extinction
A photo of a 1,000-pound tiger shark caught at a tournament in South Carolina has been shared on social media by activist groups upset by the tournament and others like it.
The nearly 13-foot shark was caught at the annual Edisto Watersports and Tackle Shark Tournament on Saturday. The crew that caught it won first place and took home a $5,000 prize, according to Carolina Sportsman.
A large crowd watched from docks and other boats as the massive shark was weighed that afternoon, Carolina Sportsman reported.
But not everyone was happy to see the winning catch.
The photo, which shows the shark hanging over a dock with three people standing around it, has been shared on Twitter and Facebook by groups and individuals who are using it as an example of why they believe the Edisto tournament and ones like it should come to an end.
The Blue Planet Society, a group “working to end the overexploitation of the world’s oceans,” was one of the groups that tweeted about the photo.
“1,023lb tiger shark killed for fun at Edisto Watersports & Tackle Shark Tournament, South Carolina yesterday. After photos the estimated 40 year-old shark was dragged out to sea, dumped, and left for the crabs. This is why we must #EndSharkTournaments,” the tweet read.
The Palmetto Ocean Conservancy posted multiple photos from the tournament on its Facebook page.
“As a community we work together to turn off the lights to help guide our beautiful turtles for nesting,” the group said in the post. “I ask you why can’t we protect the sharks? They balance our ocean.”
A Twitter account called “Big Peg, Diva of the Sea” with a shark as the profile picture also tweeted about the incident.
“Shame on these losers,” the tweet said.
But this isn’t the first time the annual tournament has seen pushback.
Several social media posts from past years show similar reactions to the tournament.
And in 2017, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources investigated reports that protected shark species were being kept at the tournament, according to WCSC.
However, it isn’t just this tournament that has come under fire.
John Hourston, founder of the Blue Planet Society, started a petition on Change.org to end shark tournaments like the one in Edisto.
The petition said that nearly every corporation that sponsored shark tournaments in the United States has stopped doing so.
“I’m now calling on NOAA Fisheries to stop the killing of IUCN Red List threatened species such as mako and thresher sharks at shark tournaments and rodeos in the USA,” the petition said. “Please sign petition to help protect threatened sharks.”