Shark and the Fish, The


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How Shark Trackers Uncovered Illegal Fishing in the Indian Ocean

Buoy lines are clipped to the float line about every 60 feet.


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They are attached to floats and allow the net to remain at a certain depth in the water column. These lines range between 18 and 24 feet in length.

This allows other vessels to pass over the gillnet without becoming entangled. The hanging line where the mesh of the gillnet is attached is also attached to the float line. The mesh is generally nylon and the stretched size of the openings for shark gillnets range between 13 and 19 inches.

The mesh size of the gillnet depends on the type of fish targeted because the net is designed so fish swim into the holes in the net and then become entangled in the gills when trying to back out or escape. Therefore larger mesh size allows larger fish to become entangled while smaller fish are able to swim through the nets. Smaller mesh size captures smaller fish while larger fish are too big to become stuck in the mesh.

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The net is allowed to soak until early morning and haulback usually begins between 1 and 3 am depending on the expected catch. This allows enough time for the net to be retrieved near sunrise. Before the haulback begins the net guard is lowered over the stern. This prevents the net from becoming tangled in the propeller while it is being retrieved.


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  • Many boats have rollers at the stern, which assist the hydraulic net reel in retrieval and also lessen wear on the nets. The net is brought aboard according to the catch. Small fish can be pulled on board in the net and removed on the deck. When larger fish are caught, the reel is slowed down so that the fish can be tied to the boat with a separate line and then winched aboard. The use of gillnets to actively encircle schools of sharks is known as strikenetting.

    Sharks and Fishing | Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

    Spotter planes flying overhead identify shark schools and their positions are relayed to the strikenet boat. Once the strikenet boat knows where the shark school is, the net is set as a half or full circle around the school. Sets begin by deploying a buoy float and releasing the net from the stern of the boat. The net is allowed to soak for about a half an hour and, before it is retrieved the strikenet boat, is often run rapidly inside of the net. This panics the sharks, running them into the net where they become entangled. Since strikenet vessels are usually too small to hold the catch, the net is usually retrieved by a drift gillnet vessel with a power roller system.

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    The net is then hauled back using the hydraulic rollers in the same manner as a drift gillnet. While strikenetters and gillnetters basically use the same gear to catch sharks, their methods differ. Strikenetting is an active method of fishing for sharks since the net is placed around known schools of sharks. This allows for a reduction of bycatch and greater percentages of targeted species caught.

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    People catch them because, in Easter week, during Lent, it's traditional in Honduras to eat soup made from dried fish. The sharks are skinned, cut into pieces, salted, and dried in the sun. This is what's used to make the soup. This is because it's made from shark, and sharks have cartilage skeletons. Fishermen go out fishing for a month, then they return to the coast and the fish is taken to San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa, but consumers don't know that it's shark meat. They know that it's a product called cecina , but they think it's a fish fillet.

    This kind of fishing is seasonal, it doesn't take place all year. It begins in January and ends at the beginning of March.

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    It varies depending on when Easter falls. We've searched in customs and haven't yet found any records. What's more, if it's transported as cecina , it's unlikely that people will be able to identify whether it's shark meat or not. You can't tell just by looking at it. These products are transported in taxis and on small boats. Finally, there are free-trade agreements in the region that favor not keeping records of the sale of these products. So, there's no regulation or control of the commercialization of shark meat?

    We began working in La Mosquitia region in and we still need more time to be able to tell whether or not it's a threat.

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    We don't know how many vessels there are in total, so we don't know how many sharks are being caught. We have a lot of work to do and we are the only ones working in the Miskito Cays. We contacted the Merchant Marine, which is the body that gives the vessels permission to go out. We thought they would be able to give us this data, but the problem is that they don't have it all gathered together in one place. The solution is to create alternative jobs for fishermen.

    EPIC Day of Beach Fishing for Sharks and Pompano - Fan Episode - 4K

    You can't just say "stop catching sharks now. They've got to eat and they've got to make money. In this area people don't have access to health care or highways. All transport must be via airplane. Ten examples of spiny dogfish and five of starry smooth-hound were found - both of which are endangered. Spiny dogfish numbers have declined significantly over the years and the International Union for Conservation of Nature places them on its red list of threatened species.

    They are classified as vulnerable globally and critically endangered in the northeast Atlantic, with stocks around Europe having plummeted - mostly as a result of over-fishing. In the EU, the spiny dogfish shark is only allowed to be sold if they were caught by accidentally getting trapped in nets used to target other fish. Starry smooth-hound is ranked as being of "least concern", but its population has dropped in the Mediterranean.

    The investigation carried out for the Mirror echoes research documented in the journal Scientific Reports, which was published earlier this year. Scientists at the University Of Exeter found that most chip shop fish sold under names like flake and rock were in many cases the threatened spiny dogfish, while others were smooth-hounds, nurse-hounds and blue sharks.

    Study author Catherine Hobbs said: "It's almost impossible for consumers to know what they are buying. People might think they're getting a sustainable product when they're actually buying a threatened species.

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