The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is investigating two photos of sharks appearing to have been branded; authorities are interested in finding out the source of the pictures. Either a J or an F – shaped like a fishing hook in a circle, had been branded into the fish under its dorsal fin.
According to The Post and Courier, the brand, as large as the palm of an adult’s hand, appeared to have been placed onto the shark with a propane torch or “freeze branded” with dry ice.
Mel Bell, DNR management director stated you can brand cattle, but you can’t brand sharks.
“It’s a violation of at least one state law and potentially federal regulations. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
Shark anglers who participate in federal programs can tag a shark they catch, and they are notified when that shark is caught again. Sharks are considered over-fished worldwide because of the illegal trade of shark finning. The sharks are often still alive when their fins are cut away. Thrown back into the ocean, the sharks are unable to swim and sink to the bottom where they die of suffocation or are attacked and eaten by other predators. The fins are used in “shark fin” soup which is considered a status symbol in China
Sharks are necessary in our oceans as helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Cattle are branded – fish are not. For anyone so unprofessional as to think one can brand a shark for any reason, why not just brand yourself and get all the tattoos you want? Leave the fish alone.
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