Record number of sharks caught at Louisbourg derby

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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LOUISBOURG — A shark fishing derby is proving to be very successful with a record nine sharks landed Sunday.

The crew of Nothin' To It is shown with its seven-foot, three-inch shark it landed to take second place at the Louisbourg shark fishing derby that raises money for charity. From left are Brian Wadden, Jamie Hall, Damien Court, Matthew McInnis, boat captain Adam Sharpe, Justin Mahon, Richie Court and Tommy Trainer.

More than 130 participants on 20 boats took part in the unusual fundraiser that was rescheduled for Sunday after choppy seas and bad weather forced its postponement in Louisbourg on Saturday.

The nine sharks surpassed the previous record of six fishermen caught at the derby in 2012. Only one shark was landed last year.

The boats left the wharf at 4 a.m. Sunday, and many returned to the wharf in the early afternoon. Each boat was given a 12-hour licence to fish, in accordance with Department of Fisheries and Oceans regulations.

The derby was called off early Saturday when the first boats leaving the harbour encountered rough seas.

“A lot of them got sick and the feeling was that it wasn’t a good idea to head out in those conditions,” said co-organizer Alison Bussey. Her husband, Louisbourg fisherman Jeff Mills, co-founded the event with Wally Krszwda.

The derby raises money for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital’s pediatric unit and the charitable Louisbourg and Area Christmas Helpers.

Prizes are awarded to the catchers of the largest shark, and while it is unlawful to keep a shark, those caught Sunday will be donated and used to feed animals at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park. The first place shark measured seven feet, four inches and was caught by the team on the boat Sabrina & Girls.

The derby also offers land activities, including a barbecue, and live entertainment.

The event raised more than $10,000 last year for the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, the Louisbourg Playhouse and the Royal Canadian Legion in Louisbourg.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Cape Breton Cancer Centre Royal Canadian Legion

Geographic location: Louisbourg

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  • DANA
    August 19, 2014 - 06:25

    If you were to come to me and ask for money for type of fun raiser , you would be in for a big shock . These sharks are needed to keep the ocean in check . Why not tell the public what is done with the sharks. As for Doug P comment about the sharks , they kill to eat , the same as you do. tell that to the pretty fish as you say it. I have read some dumb ass comments but not like Doug P comment.

    • Doug P.
      August 19, 2014 - 12:49

      You hate my comment because it forces you use the rational part of your brain instead of only the emotional portion. If this shark was sold for food you would have less an issue? Do you assume that this shark was simply discarded as waste? We eat life on this planet from plants to animals - this is a biological irrefutable fact. This is the fact that you can not come to accept, in other words, this is a delusion that modern life affords you. Go ahead, try to stop consuming life on this Earth, both plant an animal, and see how long you last? But its easier to hate me for pointing it out.

  • james
    August 18, 2014 - 16:32

    Killing for the sake of killing and of course the chance to hang one of these beautiful creatures by the tail and beat your chest and drink beer. Add to this, they make it clear they are feeding the sharks to the animals at the wildlife park and raising money for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital foundation just to feel self-righteous about this spectacle. I used to donate to the Hospital Foundation but have not supported them since they started accepting money from this spectacle.You would think the Foundation could find a better way to fundraise rather then accepting money from this.

  • Doug.P
    August 18, 2014 - 14:29

    Yes! Tell that to all the pretty fish, sea lions, other sharks, and dolphins that sharks often devour. This shark would take life without even the concept crossing its predatory brain. Love animals, that's great and all, but when you start hating humans instead that's just irrational.

    • Rich
      August 20, 2014 - 21:32

      Doug, It is not a question in the minds of DANA or james as to whether or not killing any animal is wrong. There is such a thing as sustainable predation. To kill and eat animals can be done the right way AND the wrong way. Many sharks take decades to reach maturity and reproduce, and such species keep ecosystems in check by eating all the pretty fish that are sick or old. When sharks eat other animals that are cuter and more endearing to us fickle humans, they hunt the weak to conserve their own energy, thus preventing the spread of disease and increasing overall vitality of another animal's population. When we motor out to sea and remove these animals without making the most meager effort to educate ourselves, we affect an ecosystem in ways we don't fully realize. Growing up around lobster fisherman, I have seen my share of humpback and right whales with boat propeller scars and tackle entanglement injuries, as well as hooks stuck in fish, sharks, and seals. I also know vegetarians who don't research where their food comes from, whether it be corn from fields where animals are displaced and shot, or be it tofu from slash-and-burn farming in the Amazon rainforest. Instead of people getting defensive, they should try to look at an argument from both sides. The fisherman are raising awareness and contributing funds to those in needs, but there are other ways. They can also donate food derived from more sustainable sources to Two Rivers Wildlife Park. If these men must kill something, perhaps a less-endangered species of fish or land-mammal whose numbers are not in rapid decline should be their focus. I personally don't advocate recreational killing of animals, but some people are set in their ways so the solution must be sustainable.

  • Carey
    August 18, 2014 - 13:00

    This is absolutely disgusting and a complete waste of a beautiful life!