Record-breaking mako shark catch draws controversy
Jeff Thomason’s record-breaking catch of a 809-pound mako shark with a bow and arrow has netted a school of criticism on social media.
The Texan caught the massive shark in August during a fishing trip off the coast of Huntington Beach.
The shark weighed in at 809.5 pounds, busting the previous world record of 544 pounds, which had been held by Patrick Eger. Mako sharks can grow up to 12 feet long and live up to 30 years.
In a series of photographs, Thomason, who describes himself as a predator hunter, is seen boasting about his impressive catch.
But for some Facebook users, the catch reeks.
Commenters accused Thomason of finning and destroying the ocean and its ecosystem.
Deo Eddo Keju wrote to Thomason urging him to stop hunting sea creatures.
“Please leave our sea creature as they are -- they’re important for the ecosystem of our ocean, [especially] here in the Pacific Islands,” he said.
Others like Sally Yolen asked Thomason use his knowledge of the ocean to film animals instead of hunting them.
“Please, trade in your bow and guns then get a camera & shoot in images these great beasts that you love,” she wrote. “Better yet mount your weapons instead of the animals & demonstrate how a shot is better made with a lens than an arrow.”
Others lambasted his use of a bow and arrow to catch the shark.
But in an email, a Thomason representative said the hunter is an expert with the weapon and that “no hunter wants a bad shot on an animal – no matter what you are fishing for. People seem to lose sight of that.”
The representative added that he was not “finning” the fast-moving shark.
Sharks collected off the West Coast are used for their meat, not their fins, according to the National Oceanic and Atmopheric Administration Fisheries.
The meat, Thomason’s representative said, was donated to local shelters.
According to NOAA, mako sharks are “especially vulnerable to overfishing because they take many years to mature and have relatively few young at a time.”
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