See the end of this post for an update on the host of two Sportsman Channel shows questioning the mako catch, calling for state regulation of waters off Huntington Beach.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 6, 10:21 A.M.: The teevee and funny papers were filled this week with stories about a 1,300-pound, likely record-breaking mako shark being caught of Huntington Beach.
But now comes the inevitable blowback from conservationists, who believe the shark should have been released.
“I'm a little shocked by it,” the director of a Bay Area-based nonprofit that advocates shark protection reportedly said.
“It's really something you see more in Florida than in California, where we have more of a conservation ethic,” David McGuire, director of Shark Stewards, reportedly told the Los Angeles Times.
It is all the more frustrating to the conservationist that the catch was taped for a reality television show. Videographers from the Outdoor Channel's Jim Shockey's The Professionals were aboard the fishing boat, and the Texas angler who hauled in the 1,300-pounder set out to catch a shark for the show, which is already promoting the feat online.
“People should be viewing these sharks as wonderful animals that are important to the ocean and admiring how beautiful they are,” McGuire reportedly fumed.
“These kind of reality shows are not reality. The reality is we're overfishing sharks and this macho big-game attitude should be a relic of the past. This is not entertainment. It's not right, in my view.”
Captain Matt Potter, who skippered the fishing boat, countered that he and the fishermen abided by the law, including the state limit of two makos per person per day.
“We only kept one mako for a total of 18 passengers out there three days,” the captain who goes by “Mako Matt” is quoted as telling the Times, adding that the remaining caught were released.
You won't see the apparent record-breaking mako (Wikipedia is already calling it the largest ever caught on fishing line) in the water, but you can catch it on dry land. The beast is on view at New Fishall Bait Co. in Gardena.
UPDATE, JUNE 6, 12:25 P.M.: San Diego's Conway Bowman, host of Fly Fishing the World and Outfitters by Ford Trucks on the Sportsman Channel, is also critical of the possible world-record mako shark being kept rather than released.
“If it was caught in the right manner, and the fisherman did all the right things, then yes, it should be considered for a record,” Bowman reportedly told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “But the other question is should we be taking these big sharks as much as we are right now?”
He also downplayed the feat, calling it easy to chum for giant makos in those waters off Huntington Beach because they are a nursery for pregnant sharks over 500 pounds and their pups this time of year.
Bowman called on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to do a better job of regulating mako fishing.
“I'm not saying that (CDFW) needs to take the rights of fishermen away, but (DFW) needs to do something to protect this fishery better,” he reportedly said. “They need to tighten the regulations without taking rights away. We have a really unique fishery off Southern California, but if we keep chipping away at it by taking away the breeding fish, it's sure to hurt the fishery, the ecosystem. Last year I saw three makos over 1,000 pounds, and I've seen these big makos tearing up seals and sea lions. They keep that population in check. They play an integral part in our ecosystem.”