From a Shark Tournament Captain

I am a captain of a boat that participates in the shark tournament. We have been fishing this tournament for a long time. I first will say I really do enjoy the town of Oak Bluffs and usually things seemed to go off without a hitch. I frequent the town as well with my family and friends for dinner and drinks and shopping multiple times during the summer season.

Town Asks for Audience with Organizer Before Shark Tournament Can Proceed

With the issue coming before town meeting members in early April, Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday once again revisited the controversial Monster Shark Tournament, ultimately agreeing to an application to host the tournament pending a meeting with the event organizer.

Cruel Tournament

My family has owned a gingerbread cottage overlooking Oak Bluffs harbor for several generations. As a longtime lover of all God’s creatures, I have been upset to learn of the cruelty and horrors wrought by the annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament.

Sheld Light on Shark Event

The following letter was sent to John Breckenridge, chairman of the harbor management committee:

As a long time Oak Bluffs voter, resident and taxpayer, I am writing to ask your help in understanding numerous confusing and seemingly contradictory harbor policies with regard to the annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament. I am a supporter of the forthcoming April 2013 “catch and release” referendum and look forward to your responses and thoughts on these important issues.

Calcutta Cuts

There has recently been a call by Oak Bluffs voters for thoughtful discussion around the many issues surrounding the Monster Shark Tournament. During last week’s selectman’s meeting, selectman Michael Santoro suggested that the town should consider asking for a portion of the gambling payouts called Calcuttas as a way of generating town funds to offset the increased security costs associated with sponsoring the shark tournament.

Shark Contest Under Scrutiny

Citing unruly crowds and a drain on town resources, Oak Bluffs selectmen Tuesday called for changes to the annual Monster Shark tournament held at the Oak Bluffs harbor, including a greater police presence and working more closely with event organizers. But selectmen voted against putting a petition to change the tournament to catch-and-release only on next year’s town election ballot, which will require petitioners to gather support from 10 per cent of registered voters.

Monster Shark Dilemma

In denying the 10-person petition to place on the April ballot a resolution that the Monster Shark Tournament become a completely catch-and-release event, the Oak Bluffs selectmen have actually done the opponents of the event a favor. Now they must gather signatures of at least 10 per cent of the Oak Bluffs registered voters, and therein lies an opportunity.

Protest and Abuse

I am writing to share some observations with regard to my protest activities against the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament last Saturday afternoon. Between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. I paddled my kayak with attached non-confrontational signs throughout the harbor. My goal was to present the shark fishermen and spectators with the reality that shark populations worldwide have decreased by 90 per cent over the past 40 years and that this tournament should become a catch-and-release event.

Oak Bluffs Mulls Better Crowd Control

After a weekend that the police chief called one of the busiest in years, with several fights and more than 20 arrests, Oak Bluffs police and town officials said they are looking at better ways to manage the crowds that come to the town for the annual monster shark tournament.

“Our calls for service were way up, our incidents were way up, at times we were pretty much overwhelmed on Saturday night,” Oak Bluffs police chief Erik Blake told the selectmen at their meeting Tuesday.

Fate of Shark Tournament Uncertain

The simmering heat of a July weekend served as the backdrop on a cold December night this week when the Oak Bluffs selectmen debated the future of the Monster Shark tournament, one of the town's biggest events of the summer.

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