I Think I’ll Name My Shark... Mitsy

Published: Spring 2014

Photo of a shark caught and released during a tournament
Tournaments like the made-for-TV Madfin require competitors to measure sharks and release them, with points doubled for hook retrieval. (Tim Schick photo)

Saltwater anglers catch nearly 3 million sharks every year in the U.S., but about 96 percent of sport-caught sharks are now released alive.

In addition, many shark-fishing tournaments have become catch-and-release-only for those anglers who want to preserve sharks but still get the bragging rights to a formidable fish. In fact, NOAA Fisheries is able to collect data for more than 150 oceanic sharks, meaning living in the open ocean, at eight recreational fishing tournaments in the Northeast.

Even in Montauk, N.Y., home of the late Frank Mundus, the real-life model for Capt. Quint of “Jaws” fame, anglers in the Shark’s Eye Tournament get to name any fish they catch, tag, and release for NOAA’s electronic tagging program. The resultant information provides long-term data that can detect trends in species and size composition, and life history.