From Sophie Keats, Kingston:

I am hugely disappointed to see a fisherman proudly showing off a thresher shark on the front page (CP, 27-07-18); a species globally cited as ‘vulnerable’ (IUCN 2018) with population trends decreasing worldwide.

The following images of self-congratulatory men displaying some of the rarest and most elusive fish we have in our delicate waters are horrifying.

The final sentence of the article reads that they were all returned to the water but does not state if they survived.

There is growing evidence that despite many sharks swimming away after being caught by anglers or even scientists, they have a low chance of survival due to the stress of fighting the catch and the injuries sustained (

Even more concerning is the other species shown, such as the topeare also marked as vulnerable with plummeting global population trends due to over fishing.

As a scientist and teacher I am devastated to see our Island being advertised as an area with no respect for environmental protection.

The irony of publishing these images during Shark Week is almost too much. At a time when 100 million sharks are killed annually, I am so disheartened to see my local paper cheering on the ‘sport’ of shark fishing, and hailing the men responsible as heroic. The tagging and releasing of blue shark is a sorry consolation.

It has long been established how vital these keystone species are to their fragile habitats, and I hope the practice of fishing for ‘sport’ (which should involve two teams who have chosen to play, and in a fair playing field, so to speak) dies out with this generation. The County Press has a responsibility to share up to date science, and should be reporting how “the broad consensus from the scientific community is that fish most likely feel pain and it is time governments display courage enough to act”, Rose, James. D, 2016. (

I hope the CP conducts more thorough research into local species conservation before publishing such stories in the future. We should be doing everything we can to conserve and protect the vulnerable species we are lucky enough to share out waters with. It should be encouraged that the best way to do this is by watching wildlife in its natural habitat, from a distance.