Saturday, August 16, 2008
A shark dead for no reason
Snapper Ledge Deserves SPA (Sanctuary Preservation Area) Status
Is there anything we can do about the ongoing carnage that anglers and spearfisher-persons are doing at Snapper Ledge off Key Largo? I ask because it is an absolute gem of a reef, the fishiest reef in the whole Florida Keys I think. But, it is open for any and all to take fish there. There is only one mooring buoy and I’ve seen it occupied by boats teaching spearfishing classes, and more disturbing is what is being done to the nurse sharks there.
I don’t dive this spot all that often, mostly just during my photo classes, but now on 3 separate occasions I’ve found nurse sharks alive on the bottom, but just barely. They’d been apparently caught or speared for sport, and then left to die. It took them several days to finally die, but sure enough, we found them later in the week dead on the reef.
This week it was even more outrageous. I found a nurse shark curiously lethargic on the bottom on Sunday. He had been stabbed through the back, and eviscerated. I looked at his belly and the entrails were hanging out. He was alive but nothing anyone could do to help that poor guy. Someone probably caught him, stabbed him, gaffed him, and threw him back in to die.
I had 16 photo students with me to witness this barbaric travesty on Sunday, and then were with me on Wednesday to find the white and lifeless corpse on the bottom, tucked in next to the majestic schools of grunt and snapper we were there to celebrate. I have photos of the whole series, including the vibrant shark who became detritus on the seafloor by the act of some ignorant or malicious person. It was pretty outrageous really.
I recommend this marquee dive site be protected as a Sanctuary preservation Area, SPA, just like Molasses Reef is protected. There are plenty of other places to spear fish off Tavernier and Islamorada. We’re only talking about a few hundred square meters that needs protection, because clearly, left to their own devices, uncaring and uneducated cretins are decimating the marine life there for no good reason.
To sign a petition to make Snapper Ledge a SPA, please visit: