Scientists Issue Serious Warning About Dangers of Catch and Release Shark Fishing

by Tia Bailey
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Scientists have shared a warning about a certain type of fishing. Catch-and-release shark fishing can impact them behaviorally and physiologically.

A Forbes article recently detailed the effects of this kind of fishing. Although many think that “catch and release” fishing is more humane, it actually can be just as harmful as actual fishing.

Lucy Harding, a Ph.D. candidate from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Natural Sciences, researched the effects this type of fishing has on sharks along with a team. The team broke up into three different locations and began their research.

They investigated 19 sharks, inserting thermometers into each shark’s muscle, and attaching biologging devices to their fins. The devices recorded body temperature and water temperature.

“The temperature measurements we took show that catching sharks on a line resulted in rapid spikes in their body temperature, with one blue shark showing an increase of 2.7°C in just a few minutes – which, in physiological terms, is a huge elevation,” Harding said.

The sharks that were studied were “cold-blooded,” meaning they can match their body temperatures to the water they’re swimming in. Because of this, the increase in temperature wasn’t expected, and is unusual.

Additionally, it took 40 minutes for the sharks to cool down once being released into the water.

“Results like these illustrate the physical exertion sharks undergo during catch-and-release fishing. We don’t yet know whether the rapid, fishing-induced heating has a damaging effect on shark physiology but it’s something that is important to study in more detail in the future,” Nick Payne, Assistant Professor in Trinity’s School of Natural Sciences, said in the press release. “Results from these studies could be used to design best handling practices for shark angling going forward; if we can adopt the least stressful fishing methods then it’s a win for the sharks and also for future generations of anglers.”  

Boaters Rescued by Coast Guard Open Up About Fighting Off Sharks

Phong Le, Luan Nguyen, and Son Nguyen were out fishing when high waves hit, and the water ended up sinking the boat.

The longtime friends spoke to PEOPLE about their horrifying night.

“I told everybody to put on their life vest,” Phong Le, the boat’s owner said.

As the boat was sinking, Le and Son Nguyen tied two 90-quart RTIC ice chests together with a bandana. The men used this as a flotation device.

“The wind was way too strong,” Le said. “It was pushing us so fast that we couldn’t even swim back to the oil rig.”

He added that the water was literally “washing them away at sea.”

In the middle of the sea, jellyfish stung them and fish nipped at them. Later in the situation, a shark attacked them.

“Out of nowhere this shark attacks,” Luan said. “I reacted by just trying to push him off, but that didn’t work. So I just took my thumb then I just jammed it in his eyes and it took off.”

Thankfully, the Coast Guard saved the men, who all survived.