At least seven sharks killed in local waters

| 16/08/2021 | 36 Comments

(CNS): The Department of Environment recovered the bodies of six dead sharks from local waters last month and the fins of a nurse shark were found left on the dock at the Lobster Pot. Two of the dead sharks were Caribbean reef sharks found at the Newlands boat dock and had been killed with a knife. The fact that their belly buttons were still visible meant that they were both neonates, born within the past two to three weeks.

In addition to the fins, a dead dusky smooth hound shark was found near the Lobster Pot dock in George Town. The other three dead sharks were found in Cayman Brac in the vicinity of Scott’s Dock, some of which had fins and other parts of the body removed. The DoE said they were unable to tell the species.

It is illegal to kill or harm a shark in Cayman waters, and as a result of these deaths the DoE has ramped up its regular patrols around the shoreline, boat ramps and docks.

“In bringing this information to the public’s attention, we hope that residents will be more vigilant and say something if they see something,” said DoE Shark Project Officer Johanna Kohler. “Sharks are an important part of maintaining a healthy marine environment and are an important non-consumptive resource for Cayman’s marine-based economy. Therefore, we all need to do our part to protect them, which will then benefit our reefs and the other fish that live in our waters.”

The three dead sharks on Cayman Brac add to a concerning record for the Sister Islands, as the DoE has received reports of other dead sharks each month since the beginning of the year, most of which were adults.

“Sharks are often attracted to the smell of fish guts and blood in the water at fish cleaning stations, such as the one at Scott’s Dock, and approach the area hoping to receive a few scraps to eat,” said Kohler. “Persons fishing in the area are then likely to encounter these sharks because they are drawn to the fishing activities, either the baited hook or a hooked fish struggling on the line.”

DoE has increased the number of signs and added more prominent signs at popular fishing spots on Cayman Brac to inform and remind residents about the law.

The death of the two young sharks in Newlands was also of concern as juveniles are already very vulnerable because there is no parental care in sharks.

“After birth, juvenile sharks are immediately on their own to find food and shelter from bigger predators, and usually end up in shallow water and intertidal mangroves ,” Kohler said. “Summer is reproductive season (mating and pupping) for sharks and pregnant females are pupping now. As a result, fishermen will more frequently encounter young sharks over the next few months when fishing off the shore, close to shallow water and mangroves.”

The DoE asks that fisherfolk stop fishing when there is a shark around and quickly attend to any accidentally hooked sharks to help improve the newborns’ chances of survival.

Kohler said she encountered the hound shark (Mustelus canis), a deep-water species which was likely caught and killed accidentally, when she responded to the report of the nurse shark fins in George Town. She explained that deep water sharks often die on fishing lines because they cannot survive the pressure change when being reeled in from deep depths and arrive dead on the surface.

This is only the third record of this species in Cayman since 1987. It is globally classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

If a shark is accidentally caught and is alive on the surface, the DoE is urging fisherfolk to remove the hook and release the shark or cut the line as close to the hook as possible. Use circle hooks because these are less likely to hook the shark in the gut and are easier to remove, and to use non-stainless steel hooks because they will rust out relatively quickly if the hook remains in the shark, thus improving the animal’s chances of survival.

Avoid any additional injuries to the shark and limit the amount of time spent handling it because the stress can cause the animal to die post release.

The DoE said offences against sharks will be prosecuted, including the possession of any shark parts. Penalties for breaking the law include fines, imprisonment, and boats or vehicles can be seized.

The DoE urged people to report suspicious behaviour, ongoing crimes, and any dead shark sightings by emailing doe@gov.ky or calling 949.8469.

For urgent reports, call 911 or DoE conservation officers on 916-4271 wh,o will respond immediately.


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Category: Marine Environment, Science & Nature

Comments (36)

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  1. Anon says:

    Shark fin soup is a strange one, sells for upwards of a $100 a bowl in Asia, has no nutritional benefits, taste bland, but millions of sharks are killed for their fins each year

  2. Richard says:

    Disgusting. We humans are a cancer to this world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All you shark huggers out there soon change your mind if you or one of your family attacked. Sharks don’t give a crap about humans. They will eat you same way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Muppet. Sharks don’t give a crap about humans??? Probably because they’re wild animals minding their own business in their natural habitat.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you want to retort intelligently trying putting forward a good argument instead of resorting to name calling. You might also want to educate yourself on unprovoked shark attacks.

    • Big Bobo In West Bay says:

      3:30, Tell me when the last shark attack occurred in the Cayman Islands?

  4. anonymous says:

    Filapinos…

  5. Anonymous says:

    #caymankind

  6. Anonymous says:

    Chinese moving in? Why is Cayman’s record with animals so shockingly bad?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Shark fin soup for the scavengers of these islands aaaaaaah boy the fleeecing of Cayman continues unabated what a shame eh? Borders closed but some just won’t go Home even Covid can’t stop Them!

  8. DANIEL JOHNS says:

    WOW, WELL I KNOW OF A LOCAL FISHERMAN, WHO DOES IT COMMERCIALLY, THAT HAS CLAIMED HE DOES THIS ALL THE TIME, BECUASE THE DAMNED SHARKS KEEP STEALING HIS FISH.. HEARD HIM TELLING PEOPLE THIS AT A DINNER PARTY..

    CNS: Daniel, can you leave the caps lock off when you comment, please.

    • Anonymous says:

      So why not report his name to the DOE and let them discuss with him?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because doe officer are to busy running their own business. The guy that is meant to be at Newlands has his own property managing business. Always up at Rum Point instead of doing his job.
        Why are we pay his wages?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because nothing happens? (Except someone tells the criminals who reported them).

  9. Anonymous says:

    Since we now have a coast guard please board all boats and inspect to see if they have any evidence of Shark killings etc then fine them heavy or jail them for 10 years. Check all seashores and see who is fishing off the beaches and coastal areas same thing as above. There should be absolutely no tolerance for this behavior.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hundreds of millions of sharks are killed every year. These fish have just become a statistic in the page of the shark fin industry.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Shark fin soup? A delicacy.

  12. Anonymous says:

    How about stopping those annoying Honduran boats too. They are a nasty nuisance in the Newlands area.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Humans are disgusting. We just are. We, as a species don’t deserve this planet. If we’re not killing one another, we’re wiping out animals directly or by making their ecosystems unlivable.

  14. Anonymous says:

    fishermen…pillagers of the seas.
    what do you expect?
    go watch seaspiriacy.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “Turtle soup?” “Maybe!”

    “Shark-fin Soup?” “Don’t look at me! I eat DECENT sized fish – NOT shark, tarpon or sting ray; lobster, conch, whelks – NOT bleeding-teeth, periwinkles and sea-suckers, sea-egg or sea-cat; sprats, NOT frys. Check them other man from foreign!”

  16. Anonymous says:

    Shark fin soup is not on any restaurant menu. So maybe certain groups of people here may be doing this to ensure it’s on the private table.

    If this is the case, stop this right now and wait until you are in your home country to eat this soup and other pile of sh** you all eat.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I though there were no sharks in cayman waters

  18. Anonymous says:

    If this sort of s%#t carries on, we’re only making a case for some kind of our own ethnic cleansing, – I don’t get it

  19. Anonymous says:

    Who is going to the fishing boats to educate them! They all kill sharks every time they go out. Shameful

  20. Anonymous says:

    I saw a dozen on a single piece of floating bamboo back in April.

  21. Fishing from the shore should not be permitted anywhere, I just don’t understand why it’s still allowed. We need every fish for the tourist industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Better luck banning tourism instead of inshore fishing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shore fishing is a Caymanian tradition. I do not see the harm if it is done for entertainment, not profit.

      • Anonymous says:

        Fishing is for food. If entertainment, leave the fish alone.
        Unfortunately, Daniel is right, There are local fishermen that just kill the sharks. I know of at least two that have done it.

  22. Anonymous says:

    $500,000 fine available. Never a prosecution.

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