During the month of June, Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) held 5 public meetings across
the state to announce their plan to protect tiger and hammerhead sharks, and to
require the use of Circle (Japanese Tuna Hooks) Hooks when targeting all sharks. These underpublicized meetings were meant to inform as few anglers and general public of this animal protection nonsense. FWC doesn’t care what anybody thinks, because they have an agenda and, like most government agencies, they are out of control.
Today, the FWC, The National Marine Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), etc. , are over-run by pro animal fanatics. These people in decision-making positions align themselves with lobbyists and well-financed organizations, like PEW, American Humane Society, Wild-Aid, Mote Marine Lab., etc., and their agenda is clear: Stop the Killing! They don’t like fishermen or hunters and they don’t believe in the sustainable use of our natural resources. If they could mandate that hunters use blank cartridges in their guns they’d do it! But for now fishermen, especially sports fishermen are the present target. This is why “catch and release” is acceptable. But you guys with guns…baby you’re next!
What most Americans should find troubling is how easily our tax dollars are appropriated
to further the CON-servation agenda. Two months after the FWC meetings, NOAA
awarded Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota (my backyard) a $192,000 grant to
study how sharks fare after “catch and release” using Circle and J- Hooks. They
plan to mount accelerometers or tags with motion-sensing technology to the
dorsal fins of their hooked sharks. They seem to think that the American
tax-payer might be concerned about the trauma those poor sharks deal with after
catch and release. I don’t think the American tax payer gives a rat’s ass about
predator sharks. Read the news lately? (Last time I checked the papers a 5 year
old was attacked off an Atlantic Beach!) It’s the economy, it’s jobs and wasted tax
dollars. This upsets most rational people.
Seems today’s marine biologist wants to ignore the work of past fishermen and scientists who have already published similar studies—studies that don’t gel with their agenda, so they get grants to re-research what is already available. The works of Captain Bill Gray, Director of Collections for both The Miami Seaquarium and Marineland, Captain Charlie Buie, also from The Seaquarium, Garret Klay, who captured thousands of sharks for Aquariums like Seaworld worldwide, Dr. Stewart Springer, or myself, Captain Bill
Goldschmitt, a commercial fisherman for 4 decades, are irrelevant. Hell, if NOAA was really serious in evaluating the effects on catch and release, they could’ve purchased my book, SHARKMAN OF CORTEZ for $24.95 and saved the American Taxpayer $191,975.00!
Maybe we need to ask our elected officials in Washington, “Who’s minding the bank?” This
over-sized, tax-payer-funded grant to Mote sounds like the story a few years back about tax dollars spent on $500 hammers and $1000 toilet seats for government awarded contracts. Heads rolled after that one, remember?
Now for Circle Hooks. Nearly 60 years ago, these hooks were designed by the Japanese as
a quick way for tuna fishermen to drop fish off their lines as they swung the fish over their shoulders and into the ice vats behind them. J-hooks deeply imbed in tunas’ mouths and become time consuming to remove. The exaggerated curve in the barb of circle hooks prevents the hook from penetrating the tuna’s mouth, enabling a quick release. Circle hooks were NOT designed to replace conventional J-Hooks for other methods of fishing. This is not rocket-science and the FWC knows this; it’s save the fish agenda. They know that any angler who uses circle hooks will lose far more fish than he catches. (Remember, Stop the killing…) And “catch and release”? Well, fishermen have known for a 100 years that only smaller fish that can be landed quickly, are most likely to survive.
To quote Captain Bill Gray, who wrote the fisherman’s bible and was the pioneer of
today’s fishermen, “ It is difficult to catch and release most game fish or any large sharks as their violent twists, furious jumps or shaking is unnatural to them. Their bodies tend to severely strain their vertebrae and often rupture their internal organs. After release,
they tend to drift to the bottom and fall prey to other predators. With sharks,
they have no true bones and the cartilage tears with the trauma of getting
hooked. If I can eat it, I do so. I never waste a fish.” (CREATURES OF THE SEA;
Wilfred Funk Inc., New York; 1960).
God bless Captain Gray, he was my mentor.
In the 60’s and 70’s, “catch and release” wasn’t a big deal. We ate nearly everything we
caught. Today’s conservationists claiming to be sportsmen, use the term as a feel
good about yourself; kind of a pat on the back. “See, I didn’t kill the fish, I‘m not so bad.” Awww… the con game of today’s protect-the-fish-fanatics, their propaganda never ends!
I think Mote should return the $192,000 — our hard-earned dollars. I’m going to write a
letter to President Obama or maybe Governor Rick Scott. Got to stop that
wasteful spending you know…I understand Mote just bought a new boat.