Aming ‘Disappointed’ About Dead Galapagos

July 13, 2018 | 24 Comments

[Written by Don Burgess]

An ocean life researcher is lamenting the loss of three Galapagos sharks which were apparently caught off of Warwick Long Bay.

Choy Aming, who works for the Bermuda Shark Project, said it is not illegal to catch these sharks, but the species is near threatened, has a slow reproductive rate, has a high mortality rate, and it is heavily fished. He added they are also an important part of the ocean ecosystem.

Mr Aming stated only the whale shark is protected in Bermuda.

This week, he was sent a photo of the three sharks in front of a sign to South Shore Park, Warwick Long Bay. Mr Aming said locally they are sometimes called dusky sharks or puppy sharks, but the correct scientific name is Galapagos sharks.

“When I saw the three dead sharks I was disappointed that they had caught them just off the beach,” Mr Aming said. “They had boasted about swimming in the water, and they had implied there was a threat.

“We don’t see a whole lot of Galapagos sharks, which makes this quite sad, especially since they killed three.”

Photo posted by Mr Aming:

Shark Bermuda July 2018

He added since it was founded, the Bermuda Shark Project has tagged around 50 sharks. “Locally, the Galapagos shark can be quite rare. We can go years without seeing any.”

Mr Aming pointed out that Thad Murdoch has done 250 reef surveys, and has yet to spot one of this kind of shark.

“So I was surprised they found three of them in one night,” Mr Aming said. “But they do travel in small groups. He might have got the entire group.”

He said guessing from the size of the sharks as compared to the sign, they were about four to five years old.

“There is a demand for shark hash. I imagine the three of them will be made into shark hash because there is a market for it at this time of the year,” he said.

He said Galapagos sharks would have helped the island’s ocean environments because Bermuda has seen a dwindling number of predator fish.

“One of the reasons we shouldn’t be doing this because of eco husbandry is a bad thing,” Mr Aming said. “The predator fish hunt the reef fish and keep the population in control and in check. When you start messing with the ecosystem that has taken millions of years to evolve you don’t know how it is going to go.”

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Comments (24)

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  1. Unbelievable says:

    We really need to be a lot more aware of our surroundings and people need to control their blood lust. These sharks weren’t going to do anything to anyone.

    Maybe it’s time that legislation is introduced to protect sharks. Shame on the person(s) for killing these animals – like you don’t have something else better to do.

    • Anbu says:

      So shame on them if they killed them to eat them? I dont get it. Bermudians eat sharks. You want them not to? Put them on a list. Come on choy. Its bermy and we love our hash.

      • Unbelievable says:

        @Anbu……did you even read what Choy said in the article??

        We’re all so happy to fish these creatures out of existence.

        Here. Learn a thing or two: https://vimeo.com/38927459

        Watch the above video and maybe you’ll understand why it’s important to NOT kill a shark like this.

      • Sara says:

        Go ahead and keep eating your shark mate. Go ahead and slowly poison yourself full of mercury

  2. Rich says:

    Perhaps some educational information about ‘near threatened species’ is required, because on the face of it this story is ‘man catches fish to eat them’ as men have since the dawn of time.

    In no way am I condoning hunting species to extinction. I personally did not know that this shark is ‘near threatened’ and you see shark chowder on menus all over the Caribbean and East coast of the US. Perhaps this fisherman did not know either.
    Man has to eat

  3. Jonathan says:

    Choy, if you did not know catching sharks and making hash has been a Bermudian tradition for many many years. I think it would be interesting to hear how Choy defines “near threatened.” Something does not quite add up if Choy says that he can go years without seeing one but THREE are caught in one night. Maybe the population is larger than your “research” suggests. On the flip side, I can see this being an issue if 50 sharks were caught and they were caught and discarded but we are talking about a mere 3!

    • Choy Aming says:

      This is a very short blurb on Bernews. I have an entire one hour lecture on sharks in Bermuda. It takes more than a paragraph to actually understand the larger picture. Near threatened is the official world status but we could easily fish them out locally or cause determent to our local ecosystem. Tradition and culture evolve constantly. We used to “greez” turtles and even longtails until we realized they needed protection. If the state of the world’s ocean does not terrify you then you have not been paying attention, especially if you have a child.

      • Jonathan says:

        Do you really think the catching of three sharks would cause damage to our entire ecosystem? I think more information is needed before one criticizes this fishermen. Simple questions as, what is the local population of this shark, how many are caught a year, how many can be caught before damage to the ecosystem is caused. Obviously detailed research and tangible evidence is needed which I doubt that you have handy. Yes, some traditions and cultures change but I am happy that this culture (shark hash) has remained constant.

        Lastly, I would encourage you to engage with Bermudians who actually fish for sharks. Then, you could actually get valuable tangible stats. With that said, with your very surface statement, any potential trust/goodwill has eroded.

        • Um Um says:

          Jonathan- did you read Choy’s reply? This is but a snapshot, a short article… so it’s actually you who are making assumptions.

          • Jonathan says:

            I agree, Choy’s initial statement was indeed a snapshot. I believe that someone who is an “ocean life researcher” and has attained the education level of doctor should provide the general public with more than a snapshot. Context and meaningful statistics should be provided. His follow up blurb to my reply provided more (still very limited) stats that his initial statement.

        • Choy Aming says:

          So you have tried this? I actually have fairly extensive data. I have good answers to many of these questions but biology has lots of variables so context is usually needed for a complete understanding. I am not just picking on a fisherman. We have seen a steady 80 percent decrease in shark catches over 30 years locally. In 250 reef surveys done locally not one shark was recorded. Also I have been engaging for years with people that catch sharks for years. Sometimes successfully gaining valuable data and sometimes not being physically threatened for just asking to measure it. I have been at this for a decade and am in contact with the relevant people. But thanks for the armchair quarterbacking.

          • Jonathan says:

            I believe “experts” should provide context and detailed stats for the benefit of the general public. Your reply above provided more of this (though still limited) than your initial statement. In no way am I an expert on sharks in Bermuda. In my chosen profession, I would be crucified if I criticised something without providing statistical evidence defending my critique. As you are the expert, I hope that future criticism is supported by more detailed context and statistics. The general public should hold our “experts” to account. I am surprised more queries were not thrown your way after your initial statement .

            • Excuse Me says:

              Choy actually provided an extremely informative, data-driven lecture on sharks in Bermuda only a few weeks ago at BAMZ which was open to members of the public. Based on witnessing this presentation, it would be difficult to summarise the facts in a Bernews article.

              I imagine most of what you are suggesting is honestly pretty insulting given his longtime involvement in researching our shark population.

              Also, I’m sure he could provide you with pretty sound scientific reasoning on why a mere 3 sharks does actually have an impact. But, to be honest, it’s that mindset still held by some which so desperately needs to be changed. 3 sharks x (surely a very modest figure? I don’t know, I don’t fish for sharks) 25 fishing trips in the summer = 75 sharks. There’s your big number you’ve been asking for.

              Enjoy your shark hash. Make sure you tell your grandchildren and your friend’s grandchildren how delicious it used to be when our ecosystem has been destroyed and they ask what a shark used to be.

      • All I see is talk says:

        I would just like to say, Cayman Islands national dish is turtle stew.

    • Micro says:

      The problem is when we catch them before they reach breeding maturity, the local population dies. These sharks had the potential to bolster our local population.

      It’s not uncommon to see these sharks in small groups. Happening upon a group doesn’t negate years of research and observation that suggests the local population is small.

      Globally, the Galapagos Shark is considered near threatened. This means there is concern overfishing and habitat destruction has impacted the species. They aren’t in immediate danger globally, but they can soon become endangered, eventually extinct if action isn’t taken to educate and limit the loss of habitat and place restrictions on when, where, size these sharks can be fished.

      I would recommend you do some reading up on the Bermuda Shark Project and learn more before spewing drivel.

    • Mark says:

      So we used to be/have slaves and have arranged marriages, used to eat cahows, whales and turtles….burn people for being witches and the woman knew who place was in the home preparing for the man of the house to get home, better have his dinner ready for him. All these were traditions that Bermudians had…..
      So using your reasoning we should revert back to these????

  4. This is cruelty to animals…if you kill a fish you should eat it or provide it to some one who will.
    To kill for no reason is wrong !!!!!!
    I mean…sling blade himself knew that and I quote.” I never killed nothin didn’t need Killin…mmm…hmm…

  5. Bermie says:

    Tragic. They’re so small. Bermuda’s shorelines are a nursery. If we overfish, the fish and sharks have no chance of growing up and reproducing to keep the population going. For those people who do like to eat shark hash, you might wish to reconsider when you realise just how high the poisonous mercury levels are in the fish at the top of the food chain.

  6. campervan says:

    Shark fishing is banned in the Bahamas, period.

  7. George ducas says:

    I agree with Choy however if I’m the guy on Warwick Long bay I’m just going to tell people they should primarily throw stones at the people who catch the 800lbs ish female Blue Marlins strung up by a crane in Hamilton. The crane is sitting right there now and I don’t see a photo of it in the paper with a shock and horror reaction.
    Are there more 500lbs + Marlins our there than Duskys? How many Duskys for every giant Marlin ?

  8. LocalsOnly says:

    One shark is worth over $880,000 a year in Aruba because people go there to scuba dive with live sharks. We instead kill ours for hash or lobster bait. Time to wake up

    • Real Deal says:

      brah there are a lot of sharks out there. This is most likely one of the reasons where dont get a lot of sharks inside the reef. And this this is a good this for our tourism product. catch that rouge hammer head and hash him too.

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