Skip to main content

PETA Says Fishermen Are to Blame for Shark Attacks, Could They Be Right?

When it comes to beach shark attacks, PETA says it’s due to fishing.

In a recent opinion piece posted on the Island Packet, a PETA representative shared her views on why sharks have been attacking people lately in the Carolinas.

You may have assumed by the title, but this piece isn’t the normal PETA rhetoric about the evils of fishermen. There are actually some rational thoughts that deserve serious consideration.

What’s even more surprising, there might even be some common ground where fishermen and PETA can come together for a positive change.

Becky Fenson is a fundraising special projects manager for PETA. In her piece, she states that fishermen are the ones to blame for shark attacks all along the Carolinas down to Florida.

Wait! Stay with me. Please, keep reading.

Once you get past the obvious jabs and unnecessary demonizing of fishermen, such as impaling fish with hooks causing tremendous pain (which has been scientifically proven false), suffocating fish in the air, etc., like it or not, her main points have some legitimacy.

For example, as Fenson wrote in regards to fishing near public beaches;

…fishing increases the risk of shark attacks. When left alone, sharks naturally shun contact with humans, but dangling bloody bait in the water – or tossing in guts from fish who were caught and cleaned – is like ringing a dinner bell.

Okay, I’ll bite. You may not agree with her word choices, but the point makes sense. I would agree that multiple people fishing, using live bait, has the ability to attract sharks.

In illustrating another one of her main points, she does have a leg to stand on here:

In Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, it’s legal to fish for sharks and legal to use chum – mesh bags full of fish parts that are hung off the side of a pier or boat – in order to attract them. But even without chum, sharks are attracted to fishing piers because the pilings offer fish a refuge and a place to congregate.

Again, I am not 100% familiar with the laws in those states mentioned, but again, I would agree. One town in Florida is already trying to ban shark fishing on beaches, but running into legal trouble.


The piece is concluded by acknowledging that all factors that relate to shark attacks are not directly a fisherman’s fault. For example, it points out the high-salinity waters along the Carolina coastline, as well as the large schools of Atlantic menhaden, contributes to sharks already being in the area.

However, fishermen fishing near beaches probably doesn’t help…

And this is where I’m going to have to agree, as much as it pains me to admit it. Perhaps a closed fishing season within a given proximity to a beach during peak activity times might not be a bad idea.

Maybe we are all just a little worked up due to the recent attacks, and Shark Week flooding the TV, online, and mobile screens doesn’t help.

But if there’s a chance something as simple as closing fishing down near public beaches during peak times when sharks are present saves the life of one person, isn’t it worth it?

NEXT: Louisiana Angler Lands $25K Worth of Marijuana

you might also like

PETA Says Fishermen Are to Blame for Shark Attacks, Could They Be Right?