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Louisiana Dive Club Spears Tarpon for Sport

Posted on March 13 2008

If you think that absurd disregard for animal species is confined to Third World countries, this news will make pull your hair out. The good folks at Tarpon & Bonefish Unlimited have uncovered the activity of a group of Louisiana spearfishers who have been spearing tarpon for sport. So while Florida and other states are spending large amounts of money trying to protect these creatures, which live to be eighty years old, at least a few folks in a neighboring state feel it is great fun to kill them for no purpose whatsoever.
Meanwhile in New Zealand a dolphin goes out of its way to rescue a stranded pygmy sperm whale and her calf. Hmmm… wonder which species is smarter.
Read the extended entry for the full press release.

March 12, 2008
Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited Condemns Tarpon Atrocities
If you thought photographs of dead tarpon were things of the past in US waters, think again. We were recently provided photographs of what appears to be a growing ‘sport’ in coastal Louisiana – spearfishing for tarpon. Here are examples:
Even as the last tarpon ‘kill’ tournament in Florida changes over to an all-release format, and the Mexican fishery turns more toward catch and release, it appears that tarpon conservation is not a high priority in some areas. Indiscriminant and wasteful harvest of this important gamefish should no longer be allowed.
It is clear that there are significantly fewer tarpon around now than there were 30 years ago. And it is likely that the killing of tarpon by recreational (and commercial) fishermen of yesteryear contributed to tarpon population declines. This is the principal reason that Florida, Texas and other southeastern US states have severely restricted the harvest of tarpon.
The killing of tarpon anywhere impacts tarpon fishermen everywhere. BTU-supported research has demonstrated tarpon migrations that clearly show that tarpon fisheries throughout the Gulf of Mexico, southeastern United States, and the Caribbean are connected. This regional population model is further supported by genetic research that indicates a single large tarpon stock. In other words, there is no such thing as ‘their fish’ or ‘your fish’ or ‘my fish’. They are all ‘our fish’.
Tarpon are long-lived (>80 years) and slow growing, which means that they are especially vulnerable to harvest. The tarpon shown above all appear to be of mature size, so their deaths have important and grave implications for future generations.
Catch and release recreational tarpon fisheries are worth billions of dollars per year. These fisheries rely on healthy tarpon populations.
BTU supports a regional approach to tarpon fisheries management. Part of such a management plan would include the severe limitation of tarpon harvest.
BTU urgently requests that the State of Louisiana, and other states with similar lax restrictions on tarpon harvests, implement measures that severely restrict the harvest of tarpon.
Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited
24 Dockside Lane, PMB 83
Key Largo, FL 33037

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