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Story - News

Jun 22, 2010 5:05 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Great white shark confiscated by federal agents at Star Island Shark Tournament

Jun 22, 2010 5:05 PM

A great white shark weighing between 300 and 400 pounds was confiscated by the National Marine Fisheries Service on Friday morning after a competitor at the Star Island Yacht Club Shark Tournament landed it during the contest, according to an official from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the NMFS.

The angler who turned in the shark was not arrested or fined at the scene, said Lesli Bales-Sherrod, communications specialist for the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, but could be charged with a civil violation at the close of NOAA’s investigation, which is ongoing.

Ms. Bales-Sherrod said the great white is a prohibited species under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act. Therefore not releasing one, if caught, is illegal.

Rich Janis, a Star Island tournament manager, said the angler mistook the shark for another species.

“It was misidentified by the anglers and it was confiscated by NOAA,” he said. “It was just an honest mistake, there was no benefit to bringing it in.”

But others said the angler was well aware of what he had caught. Carl Darenberg, who will run the 40th annual Montauk Marine Basin Shark Tag Tournament this weekend, said he was listening to the two-way radio during the tournament and heard the fishermen say he had caught a great white.

“He said that on the radio and everybody heard it,” he said. “I think he knew what he was doing, and he was not respecting the fisheries or being responsible.”

Ms. Bales-Sherrod said if investigators found reason to charge the angler who caught the shark, the case would be turned over to prosecutors from NOAA.

An attorney in NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement said it is too early in the investigation to know the possible penalty but that attorneys would probably consult the penalty schedule from NOAA’s Southeast Region—where cases involving an Atlantic shark is more common—which has assigned fines of between $500 and $50,000 in the past. The appropriate fine within that range would be determined based on the facts of the case.

Mr. Janis said the NFMS agents were on-hand at the tournament, which is commonplace, to conduct research on the fish that are brought in. He said they dissected the shark for research and took it away.

The overall heaviest shark caught during the two-day tournament this weekend was a 335-pound thresher, which brought with it a $25,000 prize. A $2,500 prize was awarded for a 330-pound thresher, which was the heaviest shark caught on Friday, the first day of the tournament and the same day the great white was landed.

In recent years, protesters have shown up at shark tournaments, arguing they are a form of animal cruelty. Mr. Darenberg said he doesn’t expect the commotion surrounding the great white to affect his tournament, which he said usually doesn’t get many protesters because it is a tag-and-release event.

“We’ve been doing this for 40 years,” he said. “And basically, we’re all responsible fishermen.”

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How do you make that mistake? A mako looks like a mako, right, a blue shark looks like a blue shark, a thresher looks like a thresher. And a GREAT WHITE looks like a GREAT WHITE. Idiots. Cut the line. Kooks.
By ride the truth wave (125), southampton on Jun 21, 10 7:56 PM
4 members liked this comment
The article does not say which species it was mistaken for but a juvenile great white is commonly mistaken for a mako. I am not justifying it but I have heard of this mistake happening before. The two species are closlely related.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jun 22, 10 9:03 AM
The story seems to be silent on the condition of the shark -- may we assume that it did not survive being "landed" and "turned in?"
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 22, 10 12:31 AM
Condition of the shark - "Mr. Janis said the NFMS agents were on-hand at the tournament, which is commonplace, to conduct research on the fish that are brought in. He said they dissected the shark for research and took it away."
By Sag Native (54), East Hampton on Jun 22, 10 7:44 AM
I missed that the first time around -- thank you, Ma'am.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 22, 10 4:35 PM
People who don't know one species from another should not go and kill indiscriminately. There should have been somebody on the boat who knows what animal they are going to kill. Killing for the fun of killing is immoral.
By Jupp (1), Millbrook, NY on Jun 22, 10 6:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
good idea every boat should be equipped with a marine biologist before they go out fishing or be forced to take an exam grading their ability to recognize a species.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jun 22, 10 4:51 PM
which part of "...listening to the two-way radio during the tournament and heard the fishermen say he had caught a great white.“He said that on the radio and everybody heard it,” was not clear to you? Make sure you study for the test now, reading comprehension.
By cuteus (4), Bay Shore on Jun 24, 10 9:47 PM
This is much like the morons off the cape chasing tuna. Completely inexperienced people doing things they shouldn't be doing. Too bad it wasn't a 300-400lb Mako that refused to die and proceeded to attempt to eat the fishermen.
By omghi (20), EH on Jun 22, 10 7:47 AM
3 members liked this comment
"Too bad it wasn't a 300-400lb Mako that refused to die and proceeded to attempt to eat the fishermen." agree, justice would have been served.
if you don't know what you are doing, stay off the ocean.
Hum, no, maybe he should go way out the open ocean, far out, and get lost.
What kind of credentials or skills do these killnaments require? That IT is a human and breathing? How about having a brain, a conscience, and knowledge of the species? Maybe less beer ingestion too.
I hope ...more
By cuteus (4), Bay Shore on Jun 24, 10 9:54 PM
Why are we having shark tournaments and killing sharks anyway? Especially for sport! Let have people tournaments for the sharks and throw those morons in the water...
By LINYCGirl (7), New York on Jun 22, 10 3:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
google mako shark and tell me that doesnt look like the shark above
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jun 22, 10 4:53 PM
And this is why you don't fish for sharks.
By omghi (20), EH on Jun 23, 10 7:07 AM
2 members liked this comment
Makos are much slimmer they look as much like a Blue Shark, as they do a
Great White.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 25, 10 12:07 PM
Is the Press able to post any more images from this tourney? Were there any makos landed? I saw on a sportfisherman's blog that a angler in the tournament claimed to have seen the biggest GW of his life that day, maybe 1500 lbs.. He also goes on to write that the captian in question here said over the radio that he had caught a Great White. They thought he was going to release it. Don't they kill the fish BEFOR they bring it on the boat in these cases? These competitive captians need to be ...more
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Jun 22, 10 6:02 PM
Captains. My apologies.
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Jun 22, 10 6:09 PM
well since he was overheard on the radio saying he caught a great white it really doesn't matter what it looks like
now there is a big angry mother shark roaming around our waters,and she's gonna eat all the swimmers

thanks buddy!!
By Kaiser Sozay (31), east end on Jun 22, 10 9:14 PM
Ed thanks for filling in the blanks on the story. Pardon the pun but the story sounds a little fishy. If the captain did know and radioed it in he should be charged to the max
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jun 22, 10 10:14 PM
Whoever caught this shark should feel like a real man. he is.................
By KAZ (26), SOUTHAMPTON on Jun 22, 10 10:46 PM
Fact remains, this is another example of "dare to be stupid".
It came over the radio, multiple witnesses, all of whom which most likely will be subpoenaed.
Last time I checked, Mako's had much more defined borders toward their underbellies, and were more blue, than gray/black...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 23, 10 1:26 AM
Not only is the coloration different but the teeth are different and Makos are much slimmer in profile than a GW. Anyone using the "a juvenile great white looks like a mako" defense needs to sell their boat immediately and stop fishing for anything.
By omghi (20), EH on Jun 23, 10 7:07 AM
The mistake occurs out here because the juvenile great white is very similar in appearence (they belong to the same species) to the mako, they are about the same size as the Mako and more importantly great whites are very rarely caught out here. Lets face it guys in these tournaments are not marine biologists.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Jun 23, 10 10:15 AM
when in doubt, let it go.
By cuteus (4), Bay Shore on Jun 24, 10 10:01 PM
Fellows, let's be reasonable, huh? This is not the time or the place to perform some kind of a half-assed autopsy on a fish... And I'm not going to stand here and see that thing cut open and see that little Kintner boy spill out all over the dock.
By Bilge Water (131), East Hampton on Jun 23, 10 10:24 AM
4 members liked this comment
well done
By tm (174), mtk on Jun 23, 10 4:39 PM
I'm against disparity on a wholesale level myself, but, nice pic, and excellent comment...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 23, 10 10:32 PM
Great White: Kill it
By LUVSH (28), Southampton on Jun 23, 10 6:04 PM
Three barrels? Theres no way in hell it can go down with three barrels. Hard to port HOOPER!!!!!!!
By Local dad (51), North Sea on Jun 23, 10 7:15 PM
The first Jaws reference was good, this one like most sequels unfortunately falls short of expectations.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 25, 10 12:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
If these jokers couldn't tell a mako from a white, they have no business sharking-PERIOD!!! These are very different critters, although related, the teeth, coloring, caudal penducles and overall profile are different enough for all but the most inexperienced angler to see. That tournament brings out some of the most idiotic tools imaginable.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 24, 10 6:34 AM
Plus, grilled with salt, pepper and lemon, the Mako tastes GREAT, ALOT LIKE SWORDFISH. The gw......,not.....
By Lost Tribe (66), East Hampton on Jun 24, 10 12:33 PM
What an insensitive idiot. That's "manly" circa 1975. Can't we get into the 21st C here and try to save what's left of the ocean?
Carl Darenberg is the real man in this scenario.
By April Gornik (3), North Haven on Jun 24, 10 12:53 PM
I think we're gonna need a smaller boat.
By WHBinManhattan (47), Manhattan/Westhampton on Jun 24, 10 4:40 PM
are we dealing with a rape victim here? why is the name of the offender withheld? afraid he is going to be taunted for been an idiot?
By cuteus (4), Bay Shore on Jun 24, 10 10:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
There should be more shark tournaments. No speies should be protected. Sharks are killers and make for some good eating! Why don't all you tree huggers move back to California and smoke your legal pot?
By Walt (292), Southampton on Jun 24, 10 10:55 PM
The "tree huggers" are here to stay, they will be working on getting the kill tournaments banned... tag and release for the future. As for legal pot it will happen here soon enough, don't worry Walt there will be plenty to go around!
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 25, 10 12:03 PM
Come on, there really are people out there who can benefit from "a little reefer".

Seriously, for chemotherapy, and multiple sclerosis, it's better, and SAFER than the pharm industries "miracle drugs".
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 30, 10 5:11 PM
Please let's not stiring anyone up just yet on what Mr Darenberg "Heard" on the VHF. Darenberg and Gershowitz are direct competitors in the highly lucritive (for them) shark tourny game. Recalling things heard on the radio can be both subjective and selective. I like bottom fish. Not feeders.
By spittybays (1), Hampton Bays on Jun 25, 10 8:35 AM
Shark Tournament: a half-assed reason for a bunch of clowns to go out and waste fuel and catch fish that are crucial to our oceans.
Tag and release is a compromise but these guys aren't as tough as they'd liket to think and are probably afraid of the shark they catch so they have to kill it.
I can hear it now, "No, you take it off the hook!" No you!" "I ain't gonna take it off the hook!"
Isn't there some sort of Shark Tourney Wii game you can stay home and play that doesn't do so ...more
By localwater (35), east hampton on Jun 25, 10 9:58 PM
why dont we just ban all fishing- those sharp hooks may hurt the fish cheeks, and those gill nets are just yucky. keep complaining about commercial fishermen-you're prpbably one of those who stand in the fish market andcomplain that there's no fresh fish available .if you want to save the ocean how about we stop pumping millions of galons of oil into it. sheesh-next you wont want me to go crabbin'
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 26, 10 7:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
yo cuteus ur acting like u know everything but u dont ur just making a fool out of ur self. u were not there when it happened and i prefer u to stop ur stupid comments that know one cares about. u are not even involved in this until u know the real story. once u know then u can talk. so stop commenting on these guys and give them a break. it was an accident and ur just making it worse by u saying ur pathetic comments.
By fisheye123 (1), smithtown on Jun 26, 10 4:13 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 26, 10 6:01 PM
I think you missed a comment when you were removing them previously.... Jun 26 4:13pm just above. The use of stupid and pathetic should be sufficient to warrent the removal.... no?
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 30, 10 6:52 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By fisheye123 (1), smithtown on Jun 26, 10 10:59 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 27, 10 2:48 AM
Well, though I like brevity, as well as succintness, this is a written forum, not a texting tourney.

I believe that at the moderator's convenience, the above comment will be deleted for "inappropriate content". Mainly, inciting violence.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 27, 10 12:07 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By fisheye123 (1), smithtown on Jun 27, 10 10:46 AM
"Here's your sign"
By ICE (1214), Southhampton on Jun 27, 10 11:59 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 27, 10 11:33 AM
1 member liked this comment
Several shark species have been severely depleted. It's hard to get an accurate population count of shark, and the scientists disagree on how badly some species are depleted, but it sounds like an excellent reason to stop killing tournaments and require catch-and-release for all tournaments.
This story just underscores the need for stricter federal and international controls.
By bailey (52), East Hampton on Jun 28, 10 11:22 AM
I had mako once, I guess it was ok. But with the talk of mercury and such in other types of shark, I would have to think twice before I ate some these days. These other sharks, thresher and blue, were donated to soup kitchens. Has anyone ever tried blue shark or thresher? I haven't, the captain always threw the blue sharks back. I never caught a thresher.
If your going to have these competitions, figure out a way to let these guys "catch and release" and still win. If they want ...more
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Jun 28, 10 4:49 PM
There is no excuse for bringing a Great White back to the dock. If you dont know the difference, you dont belong out there. however, there are a number of things that need to be correected here;

1. It makes no sense that the captain that caught this fish said over the radio that he caught a great white, then brought it back to the dock. Doing so would intstantly disqualify him from the tournament, and every captain knows that DEC is waiting at the dock, so he would also be instantly in ...more
By reasonable fisherman (1), Flanders on Jun 29, 10 4:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
No question that longlining and shark finning do 1,000% more damage. That said, can't we LEAD the world in conservation, since species extinction is real and shark populations have vastly declined worldwide? If we're not going to eat them, why keep them. And nobody really likes to eat blue sharks; they don't even allow them in the Oak Bluffs tournament.
Every research person I've talked to said they didn't need any more dead sharks for their research. Now satellite-tagged sharks, on the other ...more
By April Gornik (3), North Haven on Jun 29, 10 11:30 PM
Join Greenpeace...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 30, 10 5:12 PM
If some people heard that a person had caught a great white, why didn't they call him, on the radio, and tell him to be sure to release it. If even one of them had done so, the man who caught it could be fined the maximum for what he did. Too many people don't get involved and that's why people get away with what doing illegal and stupid things.

Everyone above should consider, that in any contest, there are always new people. He may not have known much about this sort of thing. Maybe a ...more
By Cranky Bird (1), Philadelphia on Aug 31, 10 8:53 PM