The dogfish we all loved to hate as sport fishermen in years past when we didn't know better is in trouble. Their numbers are decreasing here on the west coast like they did on the east coast not that many years ago. This remarkable creature of the sea plays an important part in the food chain in most oceans around the world. Here is an interesting article in todays Seattle Times about the disapearence of the dogfish in Puget Sound in recent years. Maybe one of our members, Maui Jim can give us more insight on this lowly shark as he has been working on this very project for the last couple of years.
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I'm glad to see some attention being paid to the plight of the dogfish. Years ago, back in the 80's, I think, Van Egan, while teaching at Campbell River High School, did some field studies on the ecology of dogfish and demonstrated their importance to the marine ecosytem. Since then, these long-lived and slow reproducing critters have received some attention, but obviously not enough. This little shark seems universally depised by marine anglers and commercial fishers all up an down the coast.
As an example, I went out on a charter from Ucluelet a few years back, when the waters off the west coast of Vancouver Island were teeming with Spanish mackerel. Every time a dogfish was hauled on board, the deckhands would pounce on it, stab it several times, and then punt it back into water, accompanied by much swearing and righteous indignation. The Spanish mackerel, on the other hand, received no such treatment, even though they pose a great threat to the native fisheries.
I hope posters are going up at marinas urging the careful handling and release of the surviving dogfish. What can be done about reducing the commercial by-catch is beyond me.
Is this the link?
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