ST. MAARTEN (NETHERLANDS ANTILLES) –
Recently the Nature Foundation has been receiving reports that individuals are trophy hunting the resident shark population within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park and subsequently killing them.
Sharks have a very high value to the ecology of the island and the island coral reef ecosystem, and they also are a major attraction to visiting dive tourists.The majority of divers who visit the island hope to see a shark while diving.
Aside from the above mentioned items the Nature Foundation as well as local dive operators are using sharks as a control method for the present lionfish invasion.
Over the last weeks less and less sharks are being seen, and those that are being seen show disturbing signs of considerable fishing damage. One individual was seen with the left side of its face torn away leaving its eye-socket exposed. Another individual was seen with its jaw broken open being unable to feed. Populations have been going from approximately twenty individuals to now only two or three being seen in the locations where they are known to frequent.
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