Keith Lusher 07.20.23
The Gulf of Mexico is no stranger to me when it comes to offshore fishing. From red snapper to amberjack, I’ve targeted many species in the warm gulf waters. There is, however, one problem that seems to be getting worse and that’s the overwhelming amount of sharks that are in the gulf. These sharks are wreaking havoc on offshore anglers who are trying to reel up their catch. The problem has gotten so bad that it has become virtually impossible for anglers to bring a fish back to the boat in some places before it is mauled by sharks. This depredation is detrimental to both anglers and to fish that would otherwise be released.
My daughter recently returned home from an offshore fishing trip where she said they lost approximately half of the fish that were initially hooked and being reeled to the boat because of sharks ripping them off the hook. And for the ones that weren’t ripped off the hook completely, all that was left was the head of the fish that remained.
As the rate of shark depredation has increased, fishermen have become increasingly frustrated by the issue and a lack of response from the fisheries management community. Shark depredation touches on many federal and state jurisdictions, but because no single entity has responsibility to address it, very little is being done.
In response, federal legislation has been introduced that would create a task force that would be responsible for improving coordination and communication across the fisheries management community on shark depredation and identifying research priorities and funding opportunities. The legislation is called the SHARKED Act, and it would begin the process of finding a science-based response to shark depredation.
If you fish offshore water in the Gulf of Mexico and would like to weigh in on this worsting problem that doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves, anglers are encouraged to click the link below to tell your U.S. Representative to support the SHARKED Act today!