NY state extends restrictions on hooks for shark fishing
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state will require fishermen use circle hooks for catching sharks for two more years in an effort to protect them.
A new law continues the ban on shark fishing with the traditional J-hooks that sharks are considered likelier to swallow, potentially gutting them.
The ban continues through 2018. Circle hooks are bent farther toward the hook’s shaft than J-shaped hooks, nearly forming a circle.
In his sponsor’s memo, Assemblyman Fred Thiele, a Long Island independent, said several shark species are endangered and others are threatened with worldwide populations dwindling.
“Scientific studies predict higher survival rates for released fish when circle hooks and catch-and-release techniques are used, as circle hooks are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth rather than the gut,” Thiele wrote. They’re also easier to remove than J-hooks, can reduce potential harm to the fish and have been well received by the fishing industry, he wrote.
The restriction applies to all shark species except spiny dogfish and to both commercial and recreational fishermen. New York also prohibits cutting off shark fins in the state’s coastal waters or trading in them.
New York’s authority extends 3 miles from its coastline, including the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island Sound and embayments.
A small Maryland pilot study from 2012-2013 showed circle hooks outperforming J-hooks, with fewer bites that failed to land sharks. Also, more sharks were hooked in the jaw that way, with fewer hooked in the throat or gut than with J-hooks.
“Minimizing shark release mortality is important to the stock recovery for several prohibited shark species including Dusky Sharks and Sandbar Sharks,” the study said. “Additionally, it could also improve the populations of sharks that are not prohibited and are often released because they are undersized or undesirable.”
Courtesy of The CT Post and the AP