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Our sport under attack-Shark researcher lies David Shiffman

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After careful analysis of recent attacks on Florida land-based shark fishermen in the National Geographic website article written by Rachel Bale with input from shark researcher David Shiffman and in the ' again with input by Mr Shiffman we have prepared a response to clarify our position and to point out all the outright lies in these stories. I will point out top to bottom the malignant nature of these two reports and jump back and forth from one to the other.The Title alone in the Revelator written by John R Platt is slanderous " So we are targeting Endangered Sharks are we ? David Shiffman do you sir know that we put out shark baits and sit and wait for a bite fully unaware of what species of shark will take our line (part of the rush of fishing). We could hook a blacktip shark,a nurse shark ,a mako shark , a hammerhead shark, the list is long of species that frequent Florida's very long coastline so right from the git go this article smelled bad and looks bad on the credibility of a young shark researcher trying to make his mark in his field of work . Then he the title says we are giving each other tips "how to get away with it" get away with what with fishing for sharks and not knowing if a protected species will take a line?? So we are criminals involved in illegal fishing in a conspiracy and in collusion with other fishermen to conduct illegal fishing.....REALLY !! What exactly are we getting away with ? We fish becaus it is our hobby ,our past time with friends and family,we shark fish because in Florida we are surrounded by water and many of us grew close to the water and fishing and diving and boating all became part of who we are in this state surrounded by water. Fishing and hunting is as American as apple pie and our right as stated in the Florida constitution. Next is "Extinction Countdown" really ?? Extinction is a pretty strong word that is a complete lie with any of the sharks we encounter from Florida beaches ,NONE IS ON THE WAY TO EXTINCTION,,,,, but if were true you're gonna blame the land based shark fishermen who release 95 % of all the sharks they catch?? Really? We are catching more sharks per trip than we were in the 1970' ,1980's so where is the real evidence that coastal sharks are diminishing and on the brink of extinction? The impact of worldwide long line fishing fleets cannot be disputed ,but here in America the quotas of sharks long liners have been drastically reduced over the last 25 years and rightfully so at least here in the USA we care about protecting shark stocks and it is evident in the quantity of sharks we catch on a regular basis. It seems that Mr David Shiffman is attacking a ghost shark fishermen that' does not exist ,one who fishes to harm sharks ,to kill sharks to mistreat caught sharks on the shoreline......where is this ghost shark fishermen because almost 100 percent of all land-based shark fisher,men in Florida that we observe in our website and others like it sharks are CAUGHT AND RELEASED. Yes a shark is stressed when it is caught but the same holds true for any fish caught on rod and reel-should fishing be made completely against the law? Maybe that is what David Shiffman and people like him want? Another bit of writing by David Schiffman as it appeared in the Revelator' The South Florida

Shark Club has

unequaled history in

sport of land-based

shark fishing and

our body of work over

50 years is varied and

documented in pictures

,writings ,newspaper

articles, and accounts of

those who have shared

the passion we have for

this sport . This

documentary will be in

the Miami Film

Festival and may go on

to become

an American

classic. Amazing

work telling our story,


Robbie." Mr Shiffman it is not illegal to catch a protected species -it is illegal to KILL or TAKE a protected species ,so yes we knowingly 'caught and released' protected species that happened to take one of our baits . Mr Shiffman has made every attempt to discredit what we do,our good intentions practicing a sport that is legal and protected under Florida Constitutional law. Over the years we have worked tirelessly to promote catch and release of sharks but it seems that has no bearing on this research done by David Schiffman he points out that one angler wrote "they have to catch you fishing in state waters ",,,,really? Is catching sharks in state waters illegal,,,,,NO iT IS NOT!! Again killing a protected species is illegal in state water . I imagine that some of this slanderous writing is not completely the fault of David Shiffman because it seems that a shark scholar/researcher would have better sense than to write so many untrue things.Some of the shark bans like the Hammer and Tiger shark ban went into affect on January 1st 2012 and we have not tolerated ON OUR WEBSITE pictures of protected species killed after a ban went into affect.

This topic was modified 2 years ago by william

SOUTH FLORIDA SHARK CLUB -President SFSC-Founding Member est 1983 SFSC-Website Administrator BIG HAMMER SHARK TOURNAMENT -Founder Rene Memorial Sharkathon -Founder NMFS Shark Tagger

Topic starter Posted : 08/18/2017 12:48 pm
Trusted Member

Yes, we are under attack! With no voice, we shall remain under attack....266 views with only ONE response so far...get with it guys else they think we guilty as charged! I've already responded to Mr. Shiffman and the Revelator as well as various journalist.

Why, Mr. Shiffman, what's this? Why it's YOU with a dry docked 'protected' lemon shark with a watering pole rammed down its throat while YOU and your girl or whatever are practically sitting on it!

I presume this shark was TARGETED for research purposes, hook and line. Maybe tagged? Kinda what a lot of us on here do....except for the targeting part. That, sir, remains a mystery. Perhaps you can shed some light on that for us.

Oh, by the way, I did not put a red dot over your face like you did from the photos taken from this site because, well, I have no clue how to do that...sorry.

Posted : 08/18/2017 5:32 pm
Eminent Member

Mr shiffman, i am insulted. We all are. I invite you to sit on the beach with my team and I and find ANYTHING wrong with what we do. Actually, we are helping the sharks in a way. Most of us are cooperating with NOAA on a voluntary basis to place tags on sharks. With our help, REAL researchers can better understand sharks, especially migratory species. Many of us have perfected a speedy release using barbless circle hooks, dehookers, and a well trained and rehearsed team. The purpose of this shark club isnt just to post pictures of our catches (although we are proud of every last one) but moreso to educate new sharkers about what has taken other older fisherman years to learn. New guys can jump into this hobby without hurting sharks. Education. You, mr shiffman, are not helping sharks at all. If u actually cared, you would praise and join us.

Whatever you do, do it with a smile!

Posted : 08/18/2017 7:46 pm
New Member

Mr. Shiffman,

I would Like to start by thanking you for posting your research. It gives me great pleasure to be able to come back and try to fix what you so wrongfully have portrayed to the masses!!!!

Do you realize, or have you even thought about the ecological system in the ocean? You must have been taught this in your Marine Biology classes at whatever College or University you attended? Or perhaps you don't have a Marine Biology Degree at all? The point is that the ocean and its contents are constantly changing, evolving, and adapting to sustain life. Saying that the extinction has begun, is absolutely ridiculous. Give me the facts on that. Tell me how many sharks were in the ocean when you started tracking and throwing numbers out there? The fact is that you cant. You and your liberal environmentalists think you have the answers and can pass judgment on the masses and we are to take heed to what you are saying and abide. The bottom line is that you and your supporters don't have a clue on what kind of numbers truly exist. The World is covered by roughly 70% ocean and they are discovering new species constantly. As for the sharks, they move and migrate. Perhaps you are not seeing the numbers you once did because the grocery store has moved. Again, the Ocean is constantly EVOLVING.

The next thing I would like to clear up is the fact that not all LBSF out there poaching or targeting Endangered species of sharks. Fact is, when you Yak out a bait you have no way of knowing what is going to strike. You try what you think and hope for the best. And a lot of us sharkers are taking part in the tagging process. We are trying to help preserve and gain a better understanding for future generations to come. But it appears that you and your cronies would love nothing more than to shut us down. There will always be some people out there breaking the law and spoiling it for the others. But for most , that is not the case. Again, you think you know best and we should all just call it quits. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. We will continue to fight for our fishing rights until the end of time.

The last thing I would like to clear up is the part about discussing how to catch these sharks. Do we do it? ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! The fact is that we don't do enough of it. The more education you can give people, the better it will be for all. The most important part of the catch is the release. Teaching the right and safe way for man and shark, is essential to a healthy marine environment. Maybe you would like to educate us from the picture that is posted of you and your helper with an ENDANGERED shark on the deck of your boat with a hose shoved in its mouth and practically sitting on top of it. Again, you know best, so let the lesson begin!!!!!

Posted : 08/19/2017 6:20 pm
Prominent Member Guest

Mr. Shiffman
I like most of the other memebers here grew up in Florida. Learning to live and respect the sea and it creatures at a very young age. We use the ocean for fun and sustenance. Fisherman (recreational fisherman) are the leaders in conservation. Our passion is to catch fish and most have taken to catch and release to preserve our spot and passion. As a shark researcher you should understand that more sharks are tagged and data collected by us the recreational fisherman than all you scientists and researchers provide. We are not here to destroy and eliminate the sharks we are actually at the forefront of shark conservation. So please get your facts together and realize we are on the same team. The shark finners and long linners are the problem. Spend some time with us learn how dedicated we are to protecting the creatures we all love. Maybe we can be more productive working together than against one another.

Posted : 08/20/2017 7:29 am
Trusted Member

Here's another article that just came out today, more rounded and balanced, IMHO. Take from it what you may. Some interesting points, though.

1) It is not "illegal" to fish for protected/endangered sharks. It's illegal to "kill or harvest" protected/endangered sharks.

2) The byproduct of the laws are confusing, example: can kill hammerheads in federal waters but cannot in state waters. Can even use a gun to subdue "after capture".

3) An experiment GPS tagging between captured tiger sharks and captured hammerhead sharks reveled (after release) that over half the hammerheads went dark while all tiger sharks remained active. The conclusion thus states that hammerheads even though released seemingly alive and well have an (exclusively) higher mortality rate while ALL tiger sharks remained unaffected.

It Can’t Be Legal to Drag or Shoot a Shark. Can It?

New research reveals the mistreatment of sharks may be more common than we think, but confusing fishing laws are partly to blame.
August 24, 2017 Jason Bittel

Ever since a group of sadistic bro-foons dragged a shark behind their speedboat earlier this year (and videoed themselves laughing through it all), I’ve been trying to figure out what’s against the law when it comes to shark fishing off the coast of Florida and elsewhere. The same group of men also posted online footage of themselves torturing two hammerhead sharks, shooting one in the side and pouring beer over the gills of another to watch it slowly suffocate (among additional grisly acts of cruelty on other marine life).

Whether these shark draggers will face any charges remains unclear a month after the images went viral. Shark-fishing laws are complicated and their jurisdictions can be murky, but whether an act is legal basically depends on what type of shark is caught, where, with what, and if and when it is released.

The informed participation of fishermen is crucial to protecting shark populations. While the animal abusers in the video don’t seem concerned about the legality of their actions (or common decency), navigating federal, state, and local shark-fishing laws can be tricky business even for well-meaning anglers.

As an example, take the scalloped hammerhead, the first shark to acquire federal protections when it was placed on the Endangered Species List in 2014.
Shooting a Hammerhead

Killing a scalloped hammerhead would land you in trouble, yes? Not necessarily. Due to the wording of the species’ Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doesn’t consider this shark endangered or threatened on the Eastern Seaboard or in the Gulf of Mexico (just pretty much everywhere else in the world). So fishing for hammerheads in federal waters on the Atlantic coast is perfectly legal, so long as anglers have the proper permit.

And shooting the shark?

According to John Ewald, a spokesperson for NOAA Fisheries, federal regulations specify what kinds of tools you can use to catch or retain a shark, and “a firearm is not an authorized gear type.” Good.

However, Ewald also says secondary gear can be used to “subdue the shark or assist in bringing it onboard.” Translation: In federal waters, you can’t use a gun to catch a hammerhead, but once it’s caught, you can shoot to kill.
Reeling It In

In state waters, which are closer to the coast, 26 shark species (including hammerheads) are off-limits to harvesting, which is defined as killing the animal or taking its fins or meat. So could the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission throw the book at these guys? Technically yes, but there’s a loophole here as well.

“Here’s a weird quirk of Florida law,” says David Shiffman, a shark expert and Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. “You’re not allowed to kill or land hammerhead sharks within Florida waters, but if you catch one in federal waters nearby you are allowed to land it in a Florida port.”

You’re also allowed to catch a hammerhead with a hook in Florida waters, according to Amanda Nalley, a spokesperson for the state’s Marine Fisheries Management division. “You just cannot keep them,” she says. Protected species must be released immediately, unharmed, explains Robert Klepper, public information coordinator for Florida Fish and Wildlife’s law enforcement division.

This rule may sound like everybody wins, but the sharks still don’t. Hammerheads appear to have a stronger fight-or-flight response than other shark species, and the stress can be fatal. “When these [hormonal] pathways are enacted for prolonged periods, it can lead to overload and can cause damage and even mortality,” says Austin Gallagher, the chief scientist of Beneath the Waves, a conservation organization.

Gallagher was the lead author of a 2014 shark-tagging study in which 28 tiger sharks and 28 hammerheads were caught and released. All of the tiger sharks remained alive four weeks after capture, but nearly half of the radio transmissions for the hammerheads went dark over the same amount of time.

Common knowledge that hammerheads undergo more stress while struggling is partly why Florida made “landing” hammerheads, which includes removing a shark from the water to weigh or measure it, illegal in 2012. “We want to make sure you’re not dragging it over the hull of the boat and keeping it out of the water for an unnecessary amount of time to take photos,” says Nalley.

Unfortunately, the fact that hammerheads put up a good fight makes catching them desirable for some sport fishermen who find reeling in a shark for hours at a time exciting.
Trophy Time

Despite Florida’s no-landing rule, hammerhead fishing tournaments—and ones that require photo authentication—appear to be legal. In the Big Hammer Challenge, hosted by the South Florida Shark Club, land-based anglers post photographs of their catches online to be eligible for cash prizes. Spend five minutes scrolling through these publicly available photos and you’ll see plenty of hammerheads pulled completely out of the water (which is illegal) for photos and measurements (which are illegal).

How is this allowed?

“I got nothing,” says Shiffman, who published a recent study in the journal Fisheries Research about these anglers. Shiffman and his coauthors learned that South Florida Shark Club members reported catching a total of 1,527 sharks of 15 species between 2010 and 2015. One in every four of those sharks was a protected species subjected to illegal fishing practices, such as landing or delaying the sharks’ release for measurements.

The scientists also found evidence that some anglers know that what they are doing is illegal—because they admit as much in the online forum. Some posts even offer advice on how not to get caught.

While these pictures are not nearly as egregious as the infamous shark-dragging video, Shiffman says the actions they document likely resulted in some deaths. (By the way, having a shark die after release does not disqualify you from the contest.)

Not all South Florida Shark Club members condone such behavior. “They’re upset when they hear about shark-finning. They’re upset when they hear about overfishing. And they regularly talk about this,” Shiffman says. The biologist says many do care about sharks and the health of the ocean at large.

“We are a conservation-based group of recreational shark fishermen,” wrote William Fundora, president and founder of the South Florida Shark Club, in response to a private message I sent him through the club website. “We support catch and release, encourage tag and release, and DO NOT IN ANY WAY SUPPORT THE MISHANDLING OF SHARKS.” (The all-caps emphasis is his.)

Zane Coker, a club member, blames a lot of the abuse on a combination of thrill-seeking and lack of education on proper angling techniques. In a message to me, he wrote, “[C]ountless other cruel events are taking place with NO INTENTION to be cruel whatsoever but out of pure ignorance or lack of experience.”

After speaking with two shark scientists, one federal and two state officials, a shark conservation advocate, and some recreational fishermen over the past three weeks, I’ve been left with the conclusion that shark-fishing rules are a confusing web of ambiguous and sometimes unenforced laws. So how can we expect a tourist who rents a reel for a week—or a boatful of drunken idiots—to get this right?
Now What?

Unfortunately, whether or not the infamous shark abusers receive justice won’t make a dent in our collective impact on shark populations. “It’s always interesting to me that there’s mass outrage over how an animal is killed rather than how many animals are killed,” says Shiffman. According to one oft-quoted study, humans kill about 100 million sharks worldwide per year—or about 11,000 sharks every hour.

Conservationists and sport fishermen often blame those numbers on commercial fisheries and their use of longlines, stringing thousands of hooks across miles and miles of open ocean. But since 2012, according to NOAA’s Fisheries of the United States report, recreational anglers have killed more large sharks than commercial fishers have.

“Every time I bring that up it just blows people’s minds,” says Shiffman.

So the laws governing recreational shark fishing actually do matter a great deal—but are in great need of clarification. Not only do they potentially allow for animal abuse, but they also create confusion among fishermen.

The study also found that the disparity between what’s illegal in state waters and allowed in federal areas has created a cultural divide, with land-based fishermen feeling that the laws cater to the wealthy. Think about it: If you own a boat, you can head to federal waters, kill a hammerhead, and do pretty much whatever you want with it. But those same actions could land a guy fishing from the beach in jail.

“That’s a problem,” says Shiffman, “because if you feel like you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re less likely to follow decisions made at that table.”

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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Posted : 08/24/2017 9:52 pm
Backcountry Sharker
Eminent Member

How ridiculous I have Shark fished sense I have been 10 years old I have never had 1 Shark die or kept/killed any shark I have caught I tell everyone I know to realease any fish they've caught unless its completely slought size and in season people that keep big snook and oversize fish really piss me off :evil: mr shiffman or however you spell it needs to do more reasearch and get his facts straight !!

Posted : 08/25/2017 6:44 pm
Reputable Member

Here's a bit of irony for you. I would LOVE to hear this Schiffman guy respond to this article about killing white sharks in Cape Cod, MA to suit the desires of tourists visiting the beach. Asshole. ... eadly_plan

Latest shark incident prompts Cape Cod politician to push deadly plan
‘Hazard migration strategy’ would hook ’em, kill ’em
Marie Szaniszlo, Owen Boss Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Barnstable County commissioner is proposing a controversial “shark hazard mitigation strategy” after a shark attacking a seal off a Cape Cod beach Monday sent terrified swimmers and surfers scrambling to shore.

Commissioner Ron Beaty is looking to deploy baited drum lines with hooks near popular beaches in the hopes of catching great white sharks — a protocol that he says has been successfully implemented in South Africa and Australia. Large sharks found hooked but still alive would be shot, he said, and their bodies would be discarded at sea.

“From my viewpoint, based upon the sharp increase in shark-related attacks and incidents around Cape Cod in recent years, there is a clear and present danger to human life as a result of this growing problem,” Beaty said, although he didn’t cite any statistics.

A motivating factor for his proposal, he said, was Monday’s shark attack on a seal off Nauset Beach, which was crowded with people.

Video footage posted online showed an expanding pool of blood in the water around the seal and lifeguards running along the edge of the water as beachgoers desperately yelled for two surfers to come in.

The beach was temporarily closed after the attack, as were several others in the area.

“This shark, that attack that got videotaped off Nauset, that was very close to shore and very easily could have been a small child and not a seal,” Beaty said. “It’s very easy for these sharks to mistake a person for a seal. They’re just looking for something to eat. God forbid it’s somebody’s child, and by that time, it’s too late. We can’t wait for that.”

Greg Skomal, a state Division of Marine Fisheries biologist, said he would need to know more about Beaty’s proposal, which, based on the commissioner’s seven-sentence press release, “doesn’t seem to have much to it.”

“I’m wondering what the shark hazard is,” said Skomal, who has spent more than 30 years studying sharks.

He noted that sharks feed on seals virtually every day, mostly out of human sight. The last attack on a person in Massachusetts, he said, was in 2012 on a swimmer off Truro, and the last fatal attack on a person in the Bay State was in 1936 in the waters off Mattapoisett.

“Between those years,” Skomal said, “I don’t know of any white shark attacks.”

Because certain species of sharks are protected under state and federal law, any measure like the one Beaty is proposing ultimately would have to be approved by the division. But Beaty said he’s more concerned about “getting the ball rolling” than he is the next procedural step for his proposal.

“I just threw it out there,” Beaty said. “I am going to formalize it and go before various boards of selectmen and probably make some calls to the state ... If we’re not proactive, if we’re only reactive, then by that time it’s too late. If we react to a child or a person being killed or maimed for life, by then it’d be shame on us for not having at least thought of a strategy or tried to do something.”

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

Posted : 08/25/2017 9:30 pm
Reputable Member

In ANY of this schmuck's lies , has he even made a passing mention of all the foriegn longliners or the SOBs that "fin" 100s of 1,000s of sharks? Probably not
Give 'em HELL

"What We are dealing with here, is a' PERFECT ENGINE' ; an Eating Machine ;
IT'S really a Miracle of Evolution, all this Machine does, is SWIM, & EAT & Make Little SHARKS!"

Posted : 11/22/2017 12:01 am