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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I need your help!

As you know, Gulf shrimping season started at midnight on July 15th. This past weekend the beach was COVERED in by-catch. In a 100 foot stretch of beach, I counted 234 dead fish. Most were pogies, hardheads, gafftop... but there were also reds, trout and lots of shark pups.

I counted over 10 pups before I decided to stop counting. Most I couldn't identify because they were too small, but we saw a bunch of scalloped hammerheads with blood coming out of the gills and mouth. The majority still had the umbilical cord attached.

I was telling the state coordinator at TMMSN about it and she has forwarded my story and pictures on to her contacts at TPWD, NOAA, and NMFS. Shortly after she did that she got a call from someone at San Luis Pass describing the same scene asking her who they could contact. Now folks, if people are calling the 1-800-9MAMMAL rescue number because they're so disturbed about SHARKS, you know the situation is bad. (The caller said they saw a shark every 4-5 feet!)

If you're out and about and happen to see anything like this, please take pictures and record your location. If you could, email me everything you have when you get back and I'll get everything forwarded on.

Thanks so much!
 

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Just think about all of the pups that float around that don't make it to the beach because they get eaten by other fish. Those that end up on the beach are when the sharks and kings got full.
 

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I saw a buttpile of dead pups down on the beach in Sargent as well. We saw a few other kinds of fish but mostly dead sharpnose pups. We figured it was due to the shrimpers but werent sure.
 

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I don't understand this. Why are so many dead shark pup showing up? Is this something that happens every year when shrimp season first opens? Or is this a unusual occurance?
 

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First time I have seen so many pups dead. Usually you will see piggys and hardheads, croaker, gaftop, stuff like that but like I said this is the first time I have seen the pup sharks like I did last weekend.
 

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In years past I have seen plenty of dead by-catch floating in the gulf. But I don't think I have ever seen dead sharks.

But what really hit was where Dolphin Girl said, "The majority still had the umbilical cord attached".

That just sounds strange to me. And I wonder is there any significance to it.
 

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:mad: Yeah, all the ones I saw were newborn. It was just a real strange weekend all the way around. We got to Sargent a little before dark and the tide was way out, further than I have ever seen. Then sun morning the wind switched out of the west. Tons of bait, no fish and dead baby sharks everywhere. Most screwed up trip I have had in quite a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, after communicating with the guy who runs the Florida Program for Shark Research thing in Florida, I have learned that if they umbilical cord was still attached to the pup then they were aborted rather than born. He said it was likely that all the hammerheads with the cords attached came from the same mother. All the rest of the pups -- I don't know.

I got pretty ****** because TPWD really didn't care. They just reviewed my information and called and said "Ma'am what you're seeing is bycatch." (NO ****!) They didn't acted concerned at all, even when I talked about dead GAME FISH! Then the guy wanted to argue with me that I wasn't seeing hammerheads but rather bonnetheads -- that is, until I informed him of all kinds of nifty facts and quoted several references who had seen my pictures (i.e. the guy discussed above). And when I mentioned San Luis, the TPWD guy said they had been out there and hadn't seen a thing... whatever!

NOAA and NMFS seem very interested. I'm starting to get emails from people that I don't know, so obviously, the pictures and story are making their way around.

The only thing I can deduct is that the start of the shrimping season lined up exactly with a "pupping season" and the shrimpers wiped out the nurseries. I'm no marine biologist or anything, but that's the only thing I can think of.

Anyone else have any ideas??
 

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I think you are right. I do not recall seeing cords attached to all the ones I found.
 

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I always make someone mad when I say this but I'm going to say it again and sing it!

THE TP&W NEEDS A COMPLETE OVERHAUL.

Now I'm going to walk outside and scream it at the top of my lungs!

THE TP&W NEEDS A COMPLETE OVERHAUL.

It is another government agency that is completely lax, has no supervision whatsoever, and totally blows our money.

I was at the beach a month or so ago the day after two days of solid storming and rain. Put my long rod out. Turned around and low and behold theres a game warden. He wants to check my license. I give it to him. He goes on and explains that he has been down there for two days and hasn't seen very many people cause of all of the rain. I told him I was glad to see him out checking licenses.
As he walked away I thought to myself what in the Sam Hill are these idiots doing sitting at the beach for two days in solid driving rain waiting to check licenses. If he worked for me I'd run his arse off.

THEY NEED SUPERVISION AND GUIDANCE THEY HAVE NONE. HIS TIME COULD HAVE BEEN PRODUCTIVE ELSEWHERE. I'LL BET HE SAT IN OUR TRUCK FOR TWO DAYS IN THE RAIN WITH THE AC RUNNING DOING NOTHING.

Bigwater :hairout: :hairout: :hairout: :cloud: :hairout: :hairout:
 

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I couldn't agree more and I will even take it a step further ( and probably **** even more people off ). I feel that way about most of our goverment agencies, police dept.'s. Hell all of them.
 

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There have been an increased number of studies on shrimping by-catch effects on fisheries. The Tide mag this past month mentioned shark fisheries specifically. Unfortunately by-catch is a inevitable outcome of any fishing operation. I do not know if this years season has been different from previous, I haven't seen a large number of by-catch myself. And again we won't know the full outcome if it was particularly detrimental for years. I do doubt that it is much to worry about, outside of being a disturbing sight.

I'm with ya on the TPW thing though.
 

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dang, can't edit my above post. Thought I better get to it before I get flamed. It didn't come out the way I meant it. I meant I don't think this year is any worse than previous years. But the over all process definitely needs re-examining. I'm all for more shrimping regs. as well commercial regs.
 

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FYI- High Island 7.16.04

I experienced the same fish-kill at High Island (just past the barricades) and assumed it was the shrimpers.
We arrived Friday the 16th in the late afternoon and counted 100+ shrimp boats working the coast. Noticed a small amount of fish on the beach consisting of pogies and hardheads/gafftop and shark (sand and blacktip).
But, as the afternoon turned to night they increased in numbers. By 2am when we left there were hundreds to thousands, with a 5 foot wide swath along the shore with a fish every foot to two feet away from each other.

We did not see any shark with cord. Shamefully, we saw a couple blacktip that were around 2ft in length.
 

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i was at h.i. this weekend as well,and at our campsite we counted a few pups as well as gafftops ,specks,reds,and the shad.we arrived at 5:00pm on the 16th and there were dead fish all over the beachfront and when i yakked out some baits i scooped up some shad that must have been tossed recently as they were not mushy yet,also encountered a dying pup that made me xtra ****** at the shrimpers.hopefully there's something we can do before these guys end up messing up the gulf beyond repair,next time a shrimper runs in close and takes a leader and weight from me i'll start thinking of opening a season on shrimpers w/no size or bag limits lol.hopefully no kamakazi shrimpers tommorow,we'll be about a mile past the barricades in a white dodge w/yellow yak. good luck to all
 

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You know the thing that I can't seem to figure out is, when I was a kid there were more shrimpers than there are now. At least that is how it seems to me.You know that you can't even buy a shrimping license any more. Anyhow there were a lot more fish back then than there are now or at least I caught more then and the laws were more liberal. Something just doesn't add up. I know all the American shrimpers that I knew as a kid always blamed the Vietnamese. I don't know how much truth there was to that all I know is things sure are different
 

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shrky2413 said:
I know all the American shrimpers that I knew as a kid always blamed the Vietnamese.
Have you ever met a commercial fisherman who didn't blame somebody else? the british commercials blame the french, the french blame the portuguese, the portuguese blame the spanish and apparently no one's responsible for the dead dolphins with net marks washed up on our coastline.

Spike
 

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Shrimpers

I think there were more shrimpers when I was a kid than there are now, but they didn't shrimp in the Beachfront Surf in the huge numbers that they do today. There were plenty of large shrimp in the bays, and most Gulf Shrimping was done farther out from the Beach. Now-They Shrimp the 4th gut, sometimes the 3rd, almost relentlously, one boat after another. I have been surf fishing about 35 years, and I never remember seeing them in that close to the beach at all before 10 years ago or so. And we never saw that many shrimpers in the surf, I think because they were farther out. Now, they ALL DRAG as close to the beach as they can get it seems. The last 2 years, I have been amazed at how many Shrimp Boats you see in a day going up and down the 4th and 5th gut. At Bolivar, it is impossible to yak out a bait and leave it out 30 minutes before you bring it in or loose your leader to the nets on some days. You have to go to High Island and get close to one of the old piers where they are afraid of a hang up to even yak a bait you can leave out a few hours. I think the decline in the size of shrimp, and the general decline of shrimp populations, has caused this trend. Also, with the season being set on a random basis based on test drags, they may be allowing the Shrimping season to coincide with certain species pupping season. This, combined with dragging the 4th gut, spells disaster for a year class of BT pups. We must do something, at least try to time shrimping season around pupping seasons as best we can. I would like to see an end to dragging altogether, like the buffaloe hunters, it has to end sooner or later, lets hope its not to late before we pull our head out and quit destroying our bay bottoms and fisheries. Farm raise them. The by-catch factor, the bay bottom damage, and the overharvest of shrimp, are all a ecological time bomb ticking away. Lets get rid of the long-liners to, before its to late! Its time to get serious about this and try to do something.
 

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Hey Sea Slug,

Even getting close to an old pier won't help. We tried that opening weekend and watched one get hung up on the pier. He backed up, got untangled and headed RIGHT BACK IN! We were absolutely amazed. We though for sure that getting hung up would deter him and other from coming in that close.... guess we were wrong!

See attached image...
 

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You know now that you mention it you are right SeaSlug they didn't shrimp that close to the beach 10 years ago or so. You never saw them that close. I thought for the longest time that there was something on the books about shrimping that close, but we have discussed that here in the past and there isn't ( probably should be ). Oddly enough the guys in Sargent last weekend weren't close at all. They were probably a half mile or more off the beach and there were still baby sharks everywhere.
 
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