Record number of sharks caught at Louisbourg derby

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
Published on August 18, 2014
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.
Submitted photo

LOUISBOURG — A shark fishing derby is proving to be very successful with a record nine sharks landed Sunday.

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.