Anonymous tip comes to DOE showing slain shark evidence

Nov 26, 2017 Culture

The Department of Environment said a photo was reported anonymously Saturday, showing at least seven dead sharks. The DOE told Cayman 27 they are Cuban dogfish (squalus cubenisis), a deep-water species that usually occur around Cayman. The DOE said there is very little information about Cuban dogfish populations or the population, but said like most sharks they produce few offspring which make them vulnerable to fishing. "Deep water shark populations such as the Cuban dogfish are particularly vulnerable because we know even less about them compared to our coastal and pelagic sharks in Cayman," said DOE Shark Researcher Johanna Kohler in an email. This report comes days after DOE officials released a reminder to the public that all shark species are protected in Cayman's waters. That warning was prompted by multiple incidents of illegal shark take and reports of injured sharks  on Cayman Brac. One such incident on Cayman Brac went viral back in March when Reef Divers' instructor Brett Johnson was filmed removing a 12 inch knife from a nurse shark's head. Penalties for taking protected species like sharks and rays can reach up to $500,000 and four years in jail, and the seizure of any boats or equipment involved.