Guy Harvey Seeds Cultural Change and Prize Money to Promote Catch and Release into the Structure of Shark Tournaments
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — With shark populations around the world continuing to spiral downward, the result of devastating commercial fishing techniques and an exotic taste for ‘shark-fin soup’, marine scientists such as Dr. Guy Harvey, are working around the clock to give these magnificent animals a fighting chance for survival.
In his latest mission, Dr. Harvey–better known throughout the world as a celebrated and award-winning marine wildlife artist–has brought his cause into the epicenter of one of the nation’s oldest and largest shark fishing tournaments in Ocean City, Maryland on June 15-19.
Thanks in part to Dr. Harvey’s efforts and a willingness to continue to adapt by the tournament founders and organizers, The Ocean City Shark Tournament’s cash and prize package payment in the catch and release division has increased to over $15,000.
Last month, the Second Annual Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, a catch and release only tournament, was held on the West Coast of Florida in Punta Gorda. The tournament–created as a model for catch and release only shark tournament formats–drew some 3,000 competitors and spectators and paid out over $15,000 in cash and prizes.
The Ocean City Shark Tournament will continue to feature two divisions that allow anglers to bring sharks to the scales. However, knowing that competitors tend to pursue whatever division has the biggest payout, tournament directors are looking to make the release division cash and prizes so attractive that, by their own choosing, fishermen will voluntarily opt to release more sharks.
In 30 years, the Ocean City Shark Tournament has evolved from a small “club” event to one of the largest shark tournaments along the East Coast. In the early years, only trophies and new rods and reels were given out to winners. Last year, more than $142,000 was awarded to the top anglers in the tournament.
Dr. Harvey, founder of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University and the internationally regarded Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), in recent years has joined the growing ranks of individuals and organizations calling for strict regulations to ban the commercial fishing of all sharks in The Bahamas. Scientists with the International Union for Conservation of Nature have estimated that 30 percent of shark and ray species around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction. The loss of these animals could cause irreversible damage to the ocean’s ecosystem and result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in the tourist trade.
Dr. Harvey’s message regarding shark protection initiatives is heard loud and clear in the recently released documentary “This is Your Ocean: Sharks”, co-staring fellow artist Wyland and photographer Jim Abernathy. To view the trailer of the documentary, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPdZVnkoMCM.
SOURCE Guy Harvey, Inc.