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Harte Research Institute breaks down stigma surrounding shark fishing

The shark fishing community of the Coastal Bend wants to ensure there are plenty of sharks so they can enjoy their sport long into the future.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Whether you love them, or hate them, it's hard not to watch them during Shark Week. 

However for local residents, Shark Week isn’t much different than a regular day on the water. Shark fishing is a popular sport on the coast, but anglers said sometimes there is a stigma that comes with it. 

3NEWS spoke with experts who said shark fishing can be impactful on their research. 

"Texas actually has a really healthy shark population", said Dr. Kesley Banks with the Harte Research Institute at TAMU-CC.

Banks is also featured in this year’s Shark Week on Discovery channel, and said our gulf is full of diversity when it comes to shark species.

"You can catch all sorts of sharks here off the Texas coast. Small species like Atlantic sharp nose all the way to gigantic, short fin Mako sharks", Banks said.

According to Banks, although you can harvest your shark if you're doing so within state regulations, our local fishery is conservation oriented. David Williams, with Roy’s Bait and Tackle, said business has been good this summer and so has the shark fishing.

"If you can deal with some of the seagrass out there, they’ve been getting nice tiger sharks almost to 13-feet, several hammers in the 12-foot range", Williams said.

Williams helps fellow anglers get their hands on the custom rods, reels, and bait they need. He said despite the stigma around shark fishing it has come a long way.

"When I was younger it was more of a catch and kill for jaws," Williams said. These days we all practice catch and release and sometimes we tag for migration studies to help out the biologists", Williams said.

According to Williams, the shark fishing community of the Coastal Bend wants to ensure there is plenty of sharks so they can enjoy their sport long into the future, so they often catch, take a photo, measure and then release.

"While you get to see these magnificent creatures, they release them so the next generation can see these huge apex predators" added Banks.

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