The past few weeks have generated negative sentiment toward Rosie O’Donnell among some online conservation groups for photos that recently surfaced on Mark “The Shark” Quartiano’s website. A photo featuring O’Donnell and some of her family members posing with a hammerhead shark they caught, recently appeared after Quartiano named O’Donnell “This Month’s Celebrity Angler.”
Until this week the criticism was limited to online social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. However, it seems that the major media has picked up the story this week. Several media outlets based in Miami are reporting on the story, as are a handful of international media outlets.
O’Donnell has responded via Twitter that the photo was “taken years ago” and occurred before the regulations were put into effect banning the killing of hammerhead sharks. Quartiano told Miami’s WSVN-TV that conservationists are targeting the wrong person, noting that as a result of commercial fishing operations “metric tons of sharks being killed daily right outside of our coast.”
According to a release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the harvest of tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), great hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran), scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), and smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena) will be prohibited in state waters. The measure, which was voted on today, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
The measure will also prohibit the “possession, sale and exchange” of any of the four species that are taken from state waters. However, the species may still be caught on a catch and release basis. The measure applies only to state waters and does not prohibit the harvest of these four species in adjacent federal waters.
USA Today reports that a publicity photographer was injured on the set of “Shark Night 3D” when he was accidentally bitten by an animatronic great white shark featuring a set of real white shark teeth (as seen in the video above). The 12-foot mechanical shark, created by Oscar-winning special-effects Walt Conti, has a full set of white shark teeth that were acquired from the California Academy of Sciences. The shark weighs 1,000lbs and requires two remote operators to control it.
In addition to the mechanical white shark, a 13-foot animatronic hammerhead shark used in the film was also equipped with a full set of genuine shark teeth. Actor Sinqua Walls told USA Today that he cut his hands on the hammerhead shark while filming a fight scene with it.
The Washington Post is reporting that Panamanian customs officials have discovered nearly a half-ton (421 kg) of shark fins. The article goes on to say that the fins were cut illegally from “protected hammerhead sharks.”
The fins were discovered at Panama’s international airport and were bound for New York City having originated in Ecuador. The shark fins were being shipped in a container labeled “dried fish.”
According to a WPTV.com report a 9′ (2.75 m) female scalloped hammerhead was caught by fisherman off-shore and then left dead on the docks of the Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach, Florida. The abandoned catch has stirred up some controversy. A WPBF.com report on the event quotes Jim Abernathy as saying that the catch was illegal based on Florida law. According to Abernathy, any fish that is not intended to be eaten must be immediately released under the state law.
Despite being listed as an endangered species on the IUCN Redlist, the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) is not a protected species in Florida waters.