Montauk’s First No-Kill Shark Tournament Still Seeking Boats and Fishers

This painting by April Gornik will go to the winner of the no-kill shark tournament.

This painting by April Gornik will go to the winner of the no-kill shark tournament.

A coalition of fishermen, conservationists, scientists and artists will hold the region’s first no-kill shark tournament in Montauk on July 27-28. “It’s been four years in the making,” said Montauk Marine Basin owner, Carl Darenberg, who noted the contest is still seeking boats to compete for the $10,000 in cash, as well as an original painting donated by organizer and renowned artist April Gornik.

Shark fishing in Montauk has an infamous history that helped birth the narrative of “Jaws” and has attracted protestors in recent years. Tens of millions of sharks are killed by fishermen each year, many to fill the demand for shark fin soup in Asia, and many as wasted bycatch. The tournament, held at the Montauk Boat Basin, will offer an alternative to typical shark fishing competitions, and help bring back the large sharks that are disappearing from our waters. “These fish need our help or we won’t have any left,” said Capt. Mike Potts of the Montauk charter boat Blue Fin IV.

Dubbed “Shark’s Eye,” the all-release, satelittle tag shark tournament resonates with the recent trend of citizen science, in which concerned individuals can help count and observe species, and share the data using web-based technology. All eligible mako, thresher and blue sharks will be fitted with technologically advanced satellite tracking tags, which will allow the public and scientists to follow the fish movements online. “Each time the dorsal fin breaks the surface,” Darenberg said, “there is a ping which will be picked up via satellite. The best part is that school kids will be able to follow the sharks’ journey across the ocean.”

The list of supporters includes the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, the Montauk Chamber of Commerce, Fishermen’s Conservation Association, Montauk Boatmen Inc., the Concerned Citizens of Montauk, and Edible East End. “The Montauk fishing community, businesses, environmentalists and artists are working together to prove that what is good for the environment, is good for business,” said Jeremy Samuelson, executive director of CCOM.

Boats can find entry details, rules and more information here.