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Organizers: Competition offers fishing with eye on preservation

By Staff | May 20, 2009

At 8 p.m. June 6, the Are You Man Enough Shark Challenge 3 will send hundreds of anglers out into the night to bring back the big one.
The big shark, that is. Shark are plentiful this time of year, however bringing in the big one to win the bonus prize is not that simple.
During the overnight tournament — which ends at noon June 7 — teams will earn points based on the size of shark they catch and release.
The prizes of first through third are based around the points the team accrues by catching, photographing and releasing shark 5 feet or larger.
A unique measuring device — supplied to the teams at the captain’s meeting — was designed for the sole purpose of documenting the catch.
Additionally, a bonus prize of $1,000 is awarded to the team that brings in the heaviest shark. The shark may be caught at anytime during the tournament, but here is what has to happen first:
— When a shark is brought boat side, the team must call in to the tournament committee.
— The committee will determine if that is the biggest shark caught as of that time.
— If it is not, the committee will instruct the team to release the shark unharmed.
— If it is indeed the biggest, the team will be given permission to prepare the shark to be brought back for weigh in.
— Any shark that will be brought in must be properly cared for to ensure the meat is edible so that it does not go to waste. If the team fails to take the proper steps, the penalty is disqualification from the entire tournament.
“These rules are in place to ensure we only have a handful of shark brought in, while still maintaining the thrill of the hunt. Our rules have been reviewed by experts and authorities and given praise for the responsibility and respect they display for the shark population,” tournament director Jack Donlon said.
When asked about protesters and animal rights organizations, he replied, “You can’t please everyone, there are always those that live on the fanatical fringe, they like it. They need a cause.
“The Fish and Wildlife Commission and federal government set laws regarding just this issue. These agencies mandate two sharks per boat per day as a limit,” Donlon continued. “Under such guidelines a 50-boat tournament that spans two days would legally be allowed to bring in 200 sharks. Under our rules, that number is anticipated to be 5 to 10.
“In 2007, the tournament authorized a total of four. In 2008, three sharks were brought back,” he added. “I say our record speaks volumes about our stewardship of the environment.