It is a nuisance that has only grown worse over time – millions of Florida fishermen constantly battle sharks to destroy their catch.
Gear is also a loss. You know what hooks are? We also lose money in gear. Everything costs money so if a shark steals that from you, then you lose everything,” stated Jeremy Prouty (a commercial and recreational fisherman).
Prouty is an avid fisherman and has turned his passion into a winning career. He is one of the most respected fishermen in the country. Prouty’s livelihood has been in jeopardy lately. He has lost the prize catches he was used to bringing home.
“In some places where we used to fish, you literally can’t fish there anymore because whatever fish you want on the hook will be eaten by a shark,” explains Prouty.
Researchers refer to it as shark robbery.
Scientists are working on solutions.
Assistant research professor, Professor Matthew Ajemian Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic InstituteThe study is sponsored by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
According to him, the cause of the problem is still unknown. However, an increase in shark numbers over time could be the culprit.
Ajemian stated that many shark populations are beginning to recover after being decimated over a decade ago. This was due to good management practices and other things. These populations are starting to recover and this could be one consequence of that.
He works with local captains to help him understand the world and uses DNA samples for his research.
“When sharks bite fish, slime is left on them, which contains bits of their DNA. Ajemian explained that it is a marker and we collect that when we swab around fish.
Ajemian wants to survey Florida fishermen every three months in order to find out if there is any seasonal change.
He stated that sharks come to the area in winter because, as you might know, they are just like hibernators. We think there may be more interactions during winter, but we have never done it experimentally. This is why we want the angler to help us understand this.
The investigation is expected last one year.
Ajemian and his colleagues will present their findings once completed to NOAA.