Target: April Gornik and Concerned Citizens of Montauk Director Rav Freidel
Goal: Commend no-kill shark fishing tournaments.
In July 2013, a revolutionary charity shark-fishing tournament took place in Montauk, New York. After years of campaigning against traditional shark-fishing tournaments that left ‘dumpsters filled with dead sharks,’ shark advocates in Montauk finally succeeded in persuading shark fishermen to try something new. The second annual Shark’s Eye tournament is scheduled for July 2014 and, as with the inaugural tournament, will involve zero dead sharks. Please voice your support for no-kill shark tournaments as an alternative to traditional deadly tournaments.
The Shark’s Eye tournament rules are very stringent regarding the safety of the sharks. Fishermen are required to use equipment that helps prevent lethal internal injuries and reduces the amount of time the shark is on the line. Additionally, contestants are required to alert nearby research personnel to allow the researchers to attach satellite tags, which are used to study the sharks’ movements.
Historically, Montauk has been well known for killing sharks, not protecting them. The town’s shark-fishing craze, brought on by the declining swordfish, marlin, and tuna populations and the popularity and hysteria of the movie ‘Jaws,’ has continued unabated since the 1970′s. April Gornik, a local artist, and Rav Freidel, an environmentalist and the director of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, led a multifaceted campaign to protect sharks off the coast of New York. Failures to outlaw tournaments completely and well-respected fishermen’s growing comprehension of their plummeting revenue source helped spawn this mutually beneficial approach. With this new strategy, fishermen are still rewarded generously for tournaments, scientists gain valuable research knowledge and funding, tourists can still witness these incredible animals up-close, and sharks remain alive.
By signing the petition below you are voicing your support for no-kill, research-aiding shark tournaments as an alternative to killing sharks for sport.
Dear April Gornik and Concerned Citizens of Montauk Director Rav Freidel,
Thank you for your incredible dedication to the shark preservation cause. Your resolute efforts to protect sharks off the coast of Montauk, New York have saved the lives of hundreds of sharks, provided valuable research data, and revolutionized the possibilities for collaboration between the sport fishing community and conservationists.
I hope that the example set by you and the Montauk fishing community will serve as inspiration for other communities trying to protect – depending on one’s perspective – a valuable resource or an incredible marine species and ecosystem. I wish you the best of luck as you prepare for the Second Annual Shark’s Eye tournament.
I commend your efforts at shark preservation and support the no-kill, research-aiding shark tournaments as an alternative to killing sharks for sport.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: PIRO-NOAA Observer Program via Wikimedia Commons