Why are dead hammerhead sharks washing up on Florida beaches? (Source - NBC NEWS)
Sadly, in the past few weeks, four great hammerhead sharks have washed ashore in Sarasota County. Scientists believe all were caught and released. "Don't ever take these fish out of the water," said Dr. Robert Hueter with the Mote Marine Lab.
He said hammerhead sharks are dwindling in numbers, and in these hot summer months, catching a hammerhead can put it in danger. "This is water that doesn't hold a lot of dissolved oxygen, and so these sharks tire out very quickly," Hueter said.
"10-15 minutes of fighting with them could exhaust them to the point of death. Even if they swim away, they could still die later." - MY 2 CENTS - I've lost count of the number of arguments I've had with shark fishermen who use the 'it's still legal so that's why we do it" argument to justify their favorite pastime.
The fight that a shark endures at the end of a rod and reel could be likened to an average person getting on the mat with a skilled wrestler, and trying to avoid the inevitable submission process. The activity builds up an extraordinary amount of lactic acid in the animal's musculature...not to mention the frequent jaw disfigurement. Then many - if not most - of these shark fishermen pull the animal onto the shore, bringing the full weight of the sharks body to rest on top of its vital organs - something that potentially damages the shark. Remember these animals have no rib cage to protect their organs from externally applied pressure. Once the angler has posed for a selfie, and removed the hook (or cut the leader) they drag the shark back into the ocean. When they see the shark swim away, they take comfort in the assumption that the animal will live happily ever after.
Studies like the recent one done by the Mote Marine Lab in FL, conclude that the post C&R mortality rate in sharks is high, and incredibly high in certain species - like hammers. Please - if you shark fish - cut the line sooner - don't take them out of the water - use heavy tackle to shorten the fight - use circle hooks - no selfies. In short - please give a shit! Thank you. (Pls tag shark fishermen)