Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shark Blood Sport in Massachusetts

We've pointed out in the past that the cruelest and most bizarre blood sports in the US tend to be in the Southeast. Well, here's one that doesn't fit that's in MASSACHUSETTS of all places.

Although the Humane Society article I quote is from 2007, the event is alive and well and set for 2008.

Each summer, entrants in the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament hook sharks; bleed, suffocate, or repeatedly gaff them; and string them up on docks in gruesome, sometimes mocking displays—all for prizes and gory glory. In the 2005 tournament, some 240 boats hooked approximately 2,500 sharks and killed 46 sharks in the span of 3 days. In the 2006 tournament, stormy weather provided a partial reprieve; 26 sharks were killed.

Proponents of shark killing tournaments claim that such contests serve science because biologists can study the dead sharks, leading to greater understanding of the animals’ populations. But because shark tournaments target large sharks, studies of the victims of contest kills are highly inaccurate indicators of shark abundance and population dynamics.

The truth is that shark tournaments exist because killing these unparalleled and at-risk animals is "sport" for some and "entertainment" for others.

In 2005 and 2006, ESPN broadcast the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. Many in the nation, including The Humane Society of the United States, were appalled and called on ESPN to stop aggrandizing the event. The network refused.

Stupid. Who are the real monsters here?

Photo by sgt99999.

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