Commentary by Paul Watson
Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

It is a very strange world we live in, a world where destruction of nature is rewarded and those who seek to protect and defend nature are punished.

As we struggle to raise funds to protect and defend whales, seals, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and fish, the killers reap large financial rewards for destroying the largest and strongest fish in the seas.

The White Marlin Open is the largest fishing tournament in the world. People who take joy and pleasure from murdering fish come from all over the world to hunt down and take the biggest and the best White Marlins, Bluefin, Tuna, Dolphin (Dorado or Mahi Mahi) Wahoo and Shark. (please insert photo named: Frankoswhite.jpg)

Following are the prize winning killers for 2008. This illustrates the obscene amount of money these aquatic nimrods can win for inflicting pain, misery and death on such wonderful and important creatures in our marine eco-systems.

Species

Weight (lbs)

Killer

From

Vessel

Registered

Prize Money

White Marlin

83.00

John Frankos

Virginia Beach

Rebel

Nags Head N.C.

1,394,480.00

White Marlin

78.00

Rhett Bailey

Jensen Beach, FL

Viking 54

New Gretna NJ

137,427.20

White Marlin

76.00

Gregory Hoffa

King of Prussia

Nasty Habit

Cape May NJ

90,784.80

Blue Marlin

632.50

Carl Hurledaus

Annapolis, MD

Wireless

Annapolis MD

378,210.00

Blue Marlin

590.00

Bill Mathews

Berlin MD

Gale Force

Snug Harbor MD

289,400.00

Blue Marlin

567.00

Bob Belansen

Cape May NJ

Beast

Cape May NJ

176,569.00

Bluefin Tuna

259.00

Jonathan Stallings

Garner NC

Wet Floors

Morehead City NC

2,000.00

Bluefin Tuna

207.50

Greg Ryan

Gaynet Valley PA

Trouble Maker

Ocean City MD

3,000.00

Bluefin Tuna

191.00

Rob Grodzicki

Dewey Beach DE

Ursula Priscilla

Indian River DE

251,818.00

Bluefin Tuna

184.50

Steve Boyle

Media PA

Miss Andrea

Cape May NJ

$92,238.50

Bluefin Tuna

176.50

James Rodgers

Potomac, MD

Hard Head

Wilmington DE

$36,895.00

Dolphin

32.00

Eric Bjorklund

Brookeville MD

Smokern

Manteo NC

$4,000.00

Dolphin

24.50

John Sullivan

Milford DE

No Worries

Wilmington DE

$3,000.00

Dolphin

23.50

Patrick Sciacca

Wantagh NY

Blinky III

Wilmington DE

3,000.00

Wahoo

83.50

Stephen Lewis

Ocean City MD

M.R. Ducks

Ocean City MD

$4,000.00

Wahoo

78.00

Stephen Schwing

Catonsville MD

Fish Whistle

Indian River DE

$3,000.00

Wahoo

74.50

Paul Crampton

Kunkstown MD

Marlin Magic

Hampton, VA

$2,000.00

Mako Shark

111.00

Michael Brennan

New York, NY

Smoken

Manteo NC

$4,500.00

Mako Shark

104.00

Joe Gunkel

Highland, MD

Outlaw-X

Ocean City MD

$3,500.00

19 fish were slain in return for prizes totalling $2,879, 821. Over 400 boats participated in this orgy of death, so the slaughter of fish was very high with thousands of large fish taken that did not qualify for a prize.

Very strange and very true. The madness amongst some people is so incredibly bizarre that this incredible pay-off in return for who gets the biggest fish is simply insane.

But there are corporate sponsors willing to pay for this nonsense. We need to let these sponsors know that we won't purchase products from companies that sponsor fish killing competitions. Our oceans are dying and fish are being diminished around the world and this nonsense simply perpetuates the idea that humans can lay waste to the sea for fun and profit.

The competition was not without controversy this year. Activists struck back on behalf of the fish. Donning scuba gear the activists holed the hulls and damaged the props on eight boats as the U.S. Coast Guard patrolled the marina and security guards prowled the docks. 8 boats were permanently damaged and did not participate in the killing that day.

Although the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does not condone damaging boats and gear utilized for legal fishing, we could not help but smile knowing that 8 of these fish killing for pleasure boats were knocked out of the competition.

"The White Marlin Open may be legal but it is immoral, and there is no justification for such an orgy of destruction in a world where 90% of the ocean's large fish have already been exterminated," said Captain Paul Watson. "These magnificent creatures are being slaughtered, not for food and not for people to make a living but to provide bragging rights to a bunch of yahoos who want to have their picture taken next to the corpse of a creature more noble than themselves."

Please consider taking a moment to send a letter of protest to the following sponsors of this event:

Clarion Resorts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
West Marine: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Gateway Grand Residences: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ford Motors: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Miller Lite: contact Miller Brewing Company (www.millerbrewing.com)

It may be worthwhile to ask them if they are donating to marine conservation causes or if they only support activities that contribute to destruction of life at sea.

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