Monday, May 25, 2009

Shark Tournament Changes Tact: event goes "catch and release"

Next weekend in Ft. Meyers Beach, Florida, the annual "Are You Man Enough" Shark Tournament was going to be held where fishermen could vie for recognition and prize money for the largest shark caught and brought back to the docks. The event brought the attention and wrath of several conservation organizations and the resulting pressure was enough to make the organizers opt for a catch-and-release policy only.

"I'm not passionate about killing sharks," said Jack Donlan, director of the tournament. "I was just putting on a fishing tournament. This was the best move for our tournament. It's going to expand our ability to put on a bigger event each and every year."

The Shark-Free Marina Initiative got good news coverage from CBS Miami and the Shark Safe Project exerted considerable pressure with a proposed demonstration this weekend (unfortunately, CBS erroneously attributed the efforts of the Shark Safe Project to the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative - they have similar names and motives).

Mr. Dolan's comments are of interest because they represent one of the best strategies in getting businesses or commercial enterprises on board with environmental or conservation issues: show that they will benefit commercially in the end.

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