‘Tis the Season…’

The writer brings in a great hammerhead for tagging and release in the Everglades. Hammerheads are very sensitive to capture stress and should be released immediately.
The writer brings in a great hammerhead for tagging and release in the Everglades. Hammerheads are very sensitive to capture stress and should be released immediately.

By Austin Gallagher

With the weather in south Florida finally starting to cool off, the holiday season is literally right around the corner. In most of my columns I have focused on a specific issue related to shark conservation or my own research. But for this post I wanted to do something a little different, inspired by the holiday season that is now upon us.

The holidays – be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc, are all about being grateful. So I wanted to reflect, as I think its something all of us don’t do enough. I am grateful for being able to live in a state with excellent marine resources. It is awesome that there are lots of sharks in Florida state waters and beyond that help make my research successful. I love how I can jump in a boat off Key Biscayne and see bull sharks. I love how there is competition between sharks out in the Everglades – our state’s version of the marine Serengeti. I love how I can be on the water year round. I am also grateful that Florida has some of the most conservation-minded anglers in the country. It has been so wonderful interacting with this community and getting their thoughts about the marine community.

And most of all I am grateful for this column and my readers. It is always enjoyable sharing my thoughts with those of the angling community on sharks – animals that are always providing us that sense of fascination.

So I challenge you – next time you are on the water, put the rod down for a second, turn off the engines and drift for a minute. Look out at the horizon – breathe it in. Savor it. Be thankful for it. And when you grab your rod once again, be grateful for what the ocean is providing you. I want future generations to be able to come to south Florida and see sharks. After all, its all about respect. Happy Holidays!

By the way!

I am also hosting a shark fishing survey in which anglers are able to voice their opinions on the status of sharks in Florida. Please visit the link here to participate (you will be entered in a raffle to win fishing gear): http://sgiz.mobi/s3/sharks

Austin Gallagher is a doctoral student at the University of Miami. He is also a wildlife photographer and filmmaker and his research on sharks is supported in part by Florida Sea Grant. He is a supporter of sustainable practices and catch and release sport fishing. For questions and to reach out, contact at sharksurveyfl@gmail.com

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