Killed sharks pictured with fins removed

Just days after putting out a warning over illegal shark fishing, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, received an anonymous tip that the problem may be worse than they thought.

An image of eight dead sharks, some with their fins removed, inside a cooler, apparently taken in the Cayman Islands, was reported to environment officials Saturday.

Johanna Kohler, shark project officer with the Department of Environment, said the find was worrying, coming so soon after the department reported three separate incidents of sharks being killed or injured on the Brac.

She said the sharks in the picture were a deepwater species called Cuban dogfish found in deeper waters around Cayman.

She said, “As with most sharks they grow very slowly, and produce only a few young which makes them particularly vulnerable to fishing.

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“Deep water shark populations such as the Cuban dogfish are particularly vulnerable because we know even less about them compared to our coastal and pelagic sharks in Cayman.”

The find follows three separate incidents on the Brac in the past few months where sharks have been killed or injured.

A dead lemon shark washed up at the Channel Dock, a nurse shark was photographed with a gash in its side from a knife wound and dive instructors were forced to remove a rope that had apparently been tied around a nurse shark’s head. In another case earlier this year, a dive instructor discovered a shark with a kitchen knife sticking out of its head. The DoE is circulating posters and reminding the public it is against the law to harm sharks in the Cayman Islands.

Call the DoE on 946-8469 or call 911 to report an offense or report any dead sharks found to the DoE’s shark research team on [email protected]

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