Sharks off scales for fishing club

The weighing in of sharks during Tauranga Sport Fishing Club competitions is now banned.

The TSFC committee ruled out the weighing in, following many sharks being killed and then discarded after competitions.

Caption: It will be a rare sight for Grant Holley to let anymore sharks be on display in the club.

TSFC manager Grant Holley says the club is only weighing in sharks outside of tournaments –if they are possible club records.

When sharks were allowed to be weighed in, the numbers compared to a normal day would rise dramatically, says Grant, who says club members understand the reasoning behind the rule and most only keep them if they’re to be eaten.

“People usually don’t weigh them in at all, it seems pointless,” Grant says. “I would like to remove them completely, but that will take time.”

Many years ago, shark hunts were common throughout the Bay of Plenty, especially when marlin were off the bite.

“They would berley up like hell to get a shark, they were such a big target back then,” Grant says. “We have trophies for nearly every species.”

The club tried expanding the concept of tag and release five years ago, with small success. With the act of shark-finning recently featuring in the media, conservation has become more important. The Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation have submitted a draft for stricter rules on finning and species caught.

Future steps for the club is to only recognise tag and released sharks, with weights not being accepted at all, says Grant.

“I’ve been an advocate for years, they come in and get hung up, and then what,” Grant says. “We won’t promote people just killing them and bringing them in.”

According to MPI, there are more than 110 different species of shark in New Zealand waters, with more than 70 species caught by fishers regularly. Seven species are protected under the Wildlife Act 1953, including the oceanic white tip and the great white.


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