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Shark's Eye 2nd Annual All-Release Tournament & Festival Returning to Montauk

Lindsay Andarakis

Dr. Greg Skomal and team attach satellite tag to a shortfin mako shark during 2013 competition. (Courtesy Photo)

The Shark's Eye All-Release Tournament and Festival will be returning to Montauk for the second year, from July 11-13, 2014. Boats are now entering to compete for more than ten thousand dollars in cash and prizes. This is Montauk's only satellite tag, catch-and-release, high stakes and big game sport fishing competition. It is combined with state-of-the-art science, conservation and educational entertainment that is focused on preserving shark populations.

Limited team entries are still available for this year's competition. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation provides the prize money, plus half of all entry fees, 100% of Calcutta and other prizes. The entry fee is $950. In 2013, teams tagged and released 64 sharks including, 33 mako sharks and 31 blue sharks. 4 of the sharks were tagged by satellites and can still be tracked.

During the competition, there will be plenty of fun and excitement for the whole family on the shore at the host location, the Montauk Marine Basin. The accompanying, shark-themed festival is hosted by the Shark Brothers and special guests, and is free to the public from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The festival features event sponsors, a wide variety of merchant vendors, live music and entertainment, including appearances by Brian Neal, unique attractions, interactive demonstrations and lots of delicious food and beverages. There will be a dock party on Saturday night that lasts until 10:00 p.m.

World famous marine artist and conservationist, Guy Harvey, and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, is supporting the tournament and festival again this year with $10,000 towards the prize and signed, limited edition Guy Harvey prints for the lucky winners.

"There is no other fishing tournament like Shark's Eye," says Guy Harvey. "This tournament combines the thrill of shark fishing, practical conservation measures, and meaningful fisheries research and community involvement into a single event. It is truly the future of shark fishing tournaments."

Wendy Benchley, Advisory Trustee of Environmental Defense Fund and co-founder of the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, offered her compliments to all involved in the 2nd Annual Shark's Eye Tournament and Festival. "Peter and I worked for many years on ocean conservation issues so I am pleased to be attending this year in support of the event and the continued efforts of Sean and Brooks Paxton, as they bring their comprehensive and collaborative approach of shark-release tournaments to new venues such as Montauk, the birthplace of recreational shark fishing," said Benchley. "The Paxton brothers are talented, innovative leaders in the evolution of shark tournaments from the killing of these apex predators, so valuable to the health of our oceans, into an exciting, education-oriented sporting event where the thrilling and dangerous act of bringing a shark alongside the boat for measuring, tagging and releasing results in an exhilarating experience for all--the anglers, their families and the public."

Participating scientists and their teams will attach satellite tags made available by OCEARCH to certain species such as mako, thresher and blue sharks to monitor their movements after their release. Competitors and the public can then track their movements on the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker website, www.ocearch.org, the most followed shark tracking site and app in the world. Tagging operations in 2014 will again be led by Dr. Greg Skomal and Dr. Nancy Kohler. Satellite-tagged sharks will be named by competing anglers and local school children.

Satellite tracks from last year's event have already provided us with valuable insight into the lives of these misunderstood sharks and the challenges they face during their expansive, migratory journeys. Sometimes, these sharks cross thousands of miles and multiple international territories. Three of the four shark's satellite tagged last year sounded for months after their release during competition. One of them, a shortfin mako named Rizzilient by "Fin Seeker," the team that caught and released it, spent months in the mid-Atlantic before showing up on the coast of Portugal. OCEARCH's collaborating scientists believe that Rizzilient was caught and killed by commercial fishermen in the Atlantic, and the tag then brought back to port. Beamer, a blue shark named by Montauk School Students traveled as far north as Portland, Maine before heading south to Costa Rica, where it was also caught and killed by commercial fishermen. "These findings provide tangible affirmation that, despite the vastness of our oceans, these animals still face intense fishing pressures around the world; information that can be valuable in future fisheries management policy for certain species," added Sean Paxton.

The tournament and festival is supported by sponsors including LandShark Lager, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Dan's Papers, OCEARCH, Montauk Marine Basin, Pepsi, Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, Mote Marine Laboratory, AFTCO, Lynn's Hula Hut, Montauk Boatmen and Captains Association, Montauk Chamber of Commerce, Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, Concerned Citizens of Montauk, Children's Museum of the East End, MA Shark Research Program, Shark Angels, NOAA Apex Predators Program, My Earth Water, WRI, Smokin' Wolf BBQ, Gringo's Burrito Grill, Duryea & Sons, Dreesen's Catering, Sammy's Restaurant, El Vaqero Mexican Food, Endless Summer Catering, Weather Routing, Inc. and Think Out Loud Productions. The event also continues its support of the Wounded Warrior Project by hosting a team of veterans that compete with a boat and entry provided by artist, Eric Fischl.

For more information, contact, Carl Darenberg, at (631)-668-5900 or the festival director, Laura Mastandrea at (516)-660-0100, or atlastlaura@hotmail.com.

To view the CBS Evening News TV segment on the 2013 Shark's Eye Tournament click here.

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