On September 20, Texas Wild Life and Game officials discovered 3,000 dead juvenile sharks caught in a gillnet off the South Texas Gulf coast. Gillnets are illegal to use in the state of Texas, so authorities noticed something was wrong when they spotted a gil in the water near South Padre Island. Gillnets are so effective in catching fish, that their use is often highly regulated by fishing management to reduce bycatch.
Having wiped out 3,000 baby sharks, only weighing about one to two pounds each, this illegal fishing operation has eliminated an entire generation of new sharks! The 3 mile long net captured a variety of sharks including black tips, bonnet heads, and sharp noses. Thousands of juvenile fish swim through the Gulf of Mexico surf zone to feed during this time of the year which explains why the illegal net caught such a large quantity of sharks.
Texas authorities are unsure of exactly who was responsible for the fishing operation but it is suspected that it was undertaken by Mexican fisherman. Coming from a near by village south of La Playa Bagdad, Mexican fishermen have claimed that there are no more fish to fish in their territories and so they venture into Texas waters. Sadly, overfishing has taken it’s toll not only in nearby Mexican villages but also in Texas waters as seen by the death of 3,000 baby sharks.