A fisherman in south Texas is responsible for the death of an endangered great hammerhead when it was caught and died being pulled ashore. Many news outlets are irresponsibly calling the incident “a catch of a lifetime”, when in fact, the fisherman removed a species that is seeing a sharp decline in population and is vital to the ecosystem.
It is currently legal for fisherman to catch great hammerheads as long as they are released but the problem with the law is the stress caused to the fish during the fight to bring it ashore will almost certainly kill it which is what occurred during this incident.
According to the fisherman, he caught the shark with the intuitions of returning it to the ocean but he released the shark started to die before the catch and release effort was complete.
News outlets are reporting that the shark meat was donated to homeless shelters but fail to mention the danger of eating the meat due to the high levels of mercury. Eating shark meat may expose you to potentially dangerous, high levels of the metal mercury. While a certain amount of mercury in the environment is natural, growing worldwide pollution, especially in our oceans, appears to be increasing the risk of high mercury levels in some of the fish we eat. Too much mercury can cause loss of coordination, blindness or even death.
While not everyone who is fishing in the sea intends to capture endangered species like the great hammerhead, it is pivotal to cut the line as soon as you realize what is on the other line. As well, our society needs to stop glorifying the death of a living creature and celebrating it across news channels.