Anglers, Sponsors, Patrons. It has been brought to our attention that there are groups and individuals in protest of our decision to bring shark back as one of our 33 categories in the 89th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. While we respect the opinion of any and all animal rights groups, we would like to clarify any misinformation that has been passed around.
At the request of our anglers and spectators, we chose to bring back Shark as a category. Officials worked hand in hand with Marine Scientists to ensure bringing it back was ecologically sound. Dr. Sean Powers with the University of South Alabama and Dr. Marcus Drymon with Mississippi State have been extremely influential in our decision making process.
Anglers participating in the Shark category are required to possess an Atlantic HMS (highly migratory species) permit with a specific shark endorsement. The benefit of harvesting sharks during the rodeo is that the specimens will be used to advance the data collection of the species. Scientists will collect vertebrae, stomach contents, and reproductive organs to conduct tests. We have done this type of research for many species over multiple decades which has helped the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo to adjust the tournament rules year after year. The health and sustainability of the fisheries is very important to all of us.
The US has some of the best managed and most sustainable shark fisheries in the world. The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo trusts the science behind the management. As a conservative measure, we have chosen minimum lengths that exceed state and federal regulations. In our research we have cross referenced NOAA fisheries for their list of threatened and endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico and none of the targeted sharks with our tournament are on that list. We trust the NOAA stock assessments being that our scientists stated that they are most accurate. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov
We feel as though we have done our due diligence before bringing back shark as a category and we stand strong in our decision. We are a conservation minded tournament. We have live weigh in categories for Redfish and Speckled Trout, and will accept any live inshore species that comes in with the intention to research, tag, and release. We also have catch and release categories for Tarpon and Billfish.
To our Sponsors, Anglers, and Patrons we would like to thank you for your continued support over the years to make this the largest and greatest deep sea fishing tournament in the world. To all conservationist and animal welfare groups that have reached out and voiced their concerns over our decision to bring Shark back as a category; we appreciate and respect your opinions on the topic and for that reason we have tried to inform you as best we can on the verifiable science behind our decision. We hope that this can address many of your concerns and gives you a little more insight on the matter at hand.
Calm Seas and Tight lines anglers,