Talk show host Rosie O’Donnell has come under fire by environmentalists for a picture of her posing with a dead hammerhead shark that she apparently caught several years ago in Florida. The picture was posted on a Florida fishing guide’s website with the tagline “This Month’s Celebrity Angler.”
O’Donnell has received a lot of flack the past week, and has engaged in a Twitter Tirade with her detractors, with one calling her a bad mom and another telling her to be more selective with what she pursues while fishing. O’Donnell apparently has fought back, twittering “we were not going after any species in particular – u catch what u catch – and it wasn’t endangered til 11 days ago,” and we do catch and release, some fish die as they r being reeled in —- chill.”
O’Donnell apparently caught the shark (what some say is a great hammerhead that is listed as endangered and is on the IUCN Red List), before the January 1, 2012 Florida ban on the take of three species of hammerhead shark, the scalloped (Sphyrna lewini), smooth (Sphyrna zygaena) and great hammerheads (Sphyrna mokarran).
The hammerhead shark has suffered worldwide due to overfishing in part to satiate the demand for shark fin soup (hammerhead fins command upward of $700 per kilogram, according to EarthTimes) amongst the Chinese, and other factors. Possession of shark fins are banned in California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, and Guam. Violating the ban in Florida will result in a second degree misdemeanor. The state will also launch a campaign to educate the public on safe catch and release practices of the hammerhead, including the use of specialized fishing hooks called circle hooks that hook the fish in the lip for easy removal and release.