In Florida shark fishing is a popular sport. A quick Google search turns up dozens of charter boat companies offering to take tourists out to catch the “big one.” “Great family fun,” one advertises. “Jump in the chair and battle one of these amazing fish,” says another.
In many cases, it’s catch and release. Sometimes, if it’s the right species—a blacktip, for example—it will be slaughtered and eaten.
Not everyone fishes for sharks from a boat, though. Land-based shark anglers fish from the beach or a pier instead.
Nearly a quarter of all sharks and their related species, including skates, rays, and chimaeras, are considered to be threatened with extinction. While commercial shark fishing is believed to be the biggest driver of shark declines, sport fishing can have a significant impact too. In fact, in 2013, 2014, and 2015 more large sharks were killed in the U.S. by recreational fishermen than by commercial fishermen, according to the annual State of U.S. Fisheries reports.
Photo: Stephen James Hall/Wikimedia Commons (CC0)