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Stop Florida's Horrific Shark Killing Contest

23,186 signatures toward our 30,000 Goal

77.29% Complete

Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

A shark killing contest organized by fishermen in Florida is pushing these animals toward extinction. Help us save the sharks!


Fishermen in Florida have set up a shark fishing tournament to make money on the misleading assertions that there are "too many" sharks in the water1, though experts have thoroughly proven this assertion false2.

Entry in the contest costs $100 per vessel, with participants lured in by the promise of a cash prize if they catch one of the heaviest sharks3. Each boat will be limited to two sharks by Florida law, but it's possible that some participants could break the rules, motivated by money4.

This reckless approach to conservation puts the vulnerable shark population at great risk.

The event was organized under the belief that more sharks in the water eat the local fish before they can be caught by fishermen, a detriment to the fishing industry5.

"This is mainly a money-making scheme, similar to 'legal' trophy hunts in Africa," said Raven Lynette1, a diver and shark campaigner. "The people who pay for these permits are mainly fishermen that are uneducated on the importance of sharks or simply think that the sharks are the enemy competing with their catch. They are not interested in 'research.'"

"No observer is required for these tournaments, making it easy for fishermen to kill and sink protected species," she continued1. "Also, there is ZERO reason to kill sharks, regardless of their protected (or not) status. As a whole, they are rapidly declining."

Shark researchers, environmentalists, and local divers have all testified that this shark-fishing event would be bad for the local shark population6.

Sharks are incredibly important for the overall ecosystem. Without these apex predators helping to preserve a healthy food web structure, Florida's waters — and the rest of the ocean — could see horrifically damaging consequences7.

We need sharks. And sharks need our help. Since 1970, shark populations have declined by more than two-thirds to the point at which a majority of these species are threatened with extinction8.

Sign the petition and ask Florida authorities to end this shark hunting contest for good!

More on this issue:

  1. Jessica Thomson, Newsweek (4 July 2022), "Shark-Hunting Tournament Planned in Florida Sparks Outrage."
  2. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Federal Register (24 December 2003), "Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Atlantic Shark Management Measures."
  3. Rich Co, Nature World News (4 July 2022), "Controversial Shark-Hunting Tournament in Florida Rewards Hunters With Largest Caught Shark."
  4. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (2022), "Sharks."
  5. Sophie Hirsh, Greenmatters (7 July 2022), "Why Horror Director Eli Roth Is Protesting a Florida Shark Hunting Tournament (Exclusive)."
  6. Jessica Thomson, Newsweek (4 July 2022), "Shark-Hunting Tournament Planned in Florida Sparks Outrage."
  7. Joel Lopez, WPTV (8 July 2022), "Marine life activists sound off ahead of shark fishing tournament."
  8. Ellen Johnson, Mystic Aquarium (26 July 2017), "Why we need sharks for healthy oceans—and a healthy planet."
  9. Nathan Pacoureau, Cassandra L. Rigby, Peter M. Kyne, Richard B. Sherley, Henning Winker, John K. Carlson, Sonja V. Fordham, Rodrigo Barreto, Daniel Fernando, Malcolm P. Francis, Rima W. Jabado, Katelyn B. Herman, Kwang-Ming Liu, Andrea D. Marshall, Riley A. Pollom, Evgeny V. Romanov, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Jamie S. Yin, Holly K. Kindsvater, Nicholas K. Dulvy, Nature (27 January 2021), "Half a century of global decline in oceanic sharks and rays."
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The Petition:

To the Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,

It is science fact that sharks are critical to marine ecosystems around Florida's coastline. Without these apex predators helping to preserve a healthy food web structure, Florida's waters - and the rest of the ocean - could see horrifically damaging consequences.

Why then is a horrific shark hunting contest being permitted in Jupiter, Florida?

This event, organized by a company called WarBird Tournaments LLC, falsely promotes the myth that sharks are a growing detriment to the fishing industry, though experts have thoroughly proven this assertion false.

Given the cash prize for bringing in the heaviest shark, it's feasible that some may even break state laws and hunt more than allowed during this contest.

This reckless approach to conservation puts the vulnerable shark population at great risk.

We need sharks. And sharks need our help. Since 1970, shark populations have declined by more than two-thirds to the point at which a majority of these species are threatened with extinction.

For these reasons, we implore you to prohibit these brutal shark-killing contests and any scheme that offers prizes for killing these rapidly-disappearing animals.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: