The Department of Environment (DoE) is urging fishermen to be more considerate if sharks are caught on their line.
This comes as two sharks were found dead last month (May) in what the DoE called violent acts by fishermen. Department of Environment Legislation and Coordination manager John Bothwell is urging patience from fishermen.
“On the 16th of May, we had one adult Caribbean Reef shark that was found dead in North Side by the Babylon dive site area. That shark appeared to have had a hook in it that was cut out and then part of the jaw removed. On May 28th, we had another adult Caribbean Reef shark that was found at the slipway at Northwest Point. That one appeared to of been stabbed in the head by a fishing knife and gutted before it was thrown back out. There’s really no need for this kind of violence to the animals,” said Mr. Bothwell.
According to DoE last year six sharks were killed, so far for this year, the DoE has confirmed seven shark deaths including one of their own. “On Little Cayman this year, we had either a Blacktip or a Reef shark that was found dead and it was actually one of our animals that we tagged several years previously,” said Mr. Bothwell.
All sharks species are protected under Cayman’s National Conservation Law since April 2015. Mr. Bothwell said if one catches a shark, just release it. “The safest thing is just cutting the line, or clip in the leader as closest to the fish as you feel comfortable.” According to National Geographic, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed every year illegally. Mr. Bothwell said there is only one culprit to blame. “It’s not much else that actually threatens adult Caribbean Reef sharks except people. This is why we keep hammering on about the fisherman to leave them alone, it’s because they are the only threat to the sharks,” said Mr. Bothwell. Anyone caught harming a shark in Cayman waters faces fines of up to $500,000 and four years in jail.