Friday, April 29, 2011

More Shark News from the US Virgin Islands

Thanks to SharkDiver.com for bringing attention to this video on Youtube showing a boat charter in St. John, Virgin Islands catching, harassing, and killing a juvenile tiger shark.

From SharkDiver.com:
Having lived in and been diving the USVI (US Virgin Islands) and BVI for many years I can attest that sharks are just not part of the eco system in this Lesser Antilles chain as elsewhere in the world.

Finding a juvenile Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) in these waters is an exceptional and rare event. Which makes the following video so sad to watch.
And the video:



This video comes just a few weeks after some fishermen in St. Croix were photographed killing a tiger shark to prevent it from killing (more) leatherback turtles.

SharkDiver.com is right. This video is sad. Those of us who know about shark biology understand that they are slow growing, slow to reach sexual maturity, and produce few young. Recreational killing of sharks is an unsustainable activity, never mind the arguments some would make about animal welfare. Catch and release would be more sustainable.

Tiger sharks are assessed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, it is important to note that they currently have no specific conservation or management measures in place, and are only protected in marine protected areas or in countries like Palau and the Maldives that have shark sanctuaries.

If you believe that charismatic species like the tiger shark deserve protection, you should do what the kids on Saipan and on Guam did, and lobby your local government to create shark sanctuaries and ban the possession, import, and export of shark. And if you want to help protect sharks across the globe, you can take the Shark Defenders Pledge and we'll let you know when your voice is needed. This year we've passed legislation in Saipan and Guam, and legislation is pending in Washington, Oregon, California, The Bahamas, and some others that we're not at liberty to divulge just yet.

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