Louisiana Fishermen Say Aggressive Sharks are Costing them Money
Making a living in the waters off Louisiana's coastline is tough, just ask any of the hundreds of fishermen who earn their keep by harvesting nature's bounty in our state's coastal waters. The risk is great to both life and property but the rewards can be quite nice for those willing to make the sacrifice.
In any "farming" operation there are a lot of variables. And while our fishing families don't "farm the ocean" in the traditional sense of the word, they are looking to keep the environment around their "crop" as pristine and functional as possible. Most of the time threats to Louisiana's fishing industry are manmade. However, Mother Nature can throw a haymaker into the mix as well in the form of hurricanes or tropical storms.
But this year the big issue that is facing a lot of fishermen, both commercial and recreational, as far as the Gulf of Mexico is concerned isn't from weather or mankind's mistakes. The issue a lot of fishermen are facing now is an expanding and aggressive shark population.
You may have read the story earlier this week where boaters had to be rescued by the Coast Guard about 25 miles off the coast. The boaters said their rescue was complicated by sharks in the area. One of the fishermen even had to poke one of the creatures in the eyes to keep it from attacking him.
Representatives of Louisiana's Fishing Industry are now reaching out to lawmakers on the state and federal levels to see if there isn't something that can be done to keep the shark population at bay and to keep the aggressive animals from literally stealing the catch off the line from so many fishing families.
Many pundits believe federal protections for sharks have allowed their numbers to grow unchecked in Louisiana's coastal waters and now our state's fishing families are paying the price for that increased population.
Several charter boat captains are reporting that it's not uncommon for about half of their day's catch to go to the sharks as the creatures eat the fish right off the line before anglers can get them into the boat.
As far as natural predators go, whales are the most predominant ones when it comes to sharks and if you haven't checked lately, there aren't a lot of whales in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, Coast Guard officials are urging all fishermen who venture out into the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana's coast to be prepared for contact with sharks and to make sure their crews and passengers know what to do should they be forced into the water.
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