Earlier this week, Mark Quartiano, an infamous Miami Beach fisherman, posted photos of Rosie O'Donnell and her kids next to dead hammerhead sharks on his web site, declaring "This Month's Celebrity Angler."
Since then, the media maven with a home on Star Island has been targeted by environmentalists and animal rights activists for her shark kills.
The outspoken O'Donnell isn't taking the criticism lying down; she's taken it to Twitter:
Florida just banned shark finishing as of January 1. O'Donnell's photographed hammerhead kills were from years ago when the sport was still legal, according to the Sun Sentinel.
University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science reports that the hammerhead shark population has diminished by more than 80 percent over the last 20 years. Researchers point out that Florida waters are especially key in the species's survival as the Atlantic supplies important pupping and feeding grounds for the sharks.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ban prohibits the harvest, possession, sale and exchange of tiger sharks and great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks in state waters.
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, director of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami (UM), says he hopes the "National Marine Fisheries Service will follow Florida's lead and ban these sharks from being harvested in the adjacent federal waters."
Meanwhile a Field and Stream blogger commended O'Donnell for involving her kids in shark fishing, but then changed his tune:
In my opinion, that shark should have absolutely, positively been cut loose at the boat. Had it been, I'd be nominating Rosie for "Mom of the Year." ... My gripe is that hammerheads are not food fish. I understand that doesn't mean you can't eat one (you can eat a dog turd if you want), but I have yet to meet an angler in all my travels that has mentioned hammerhead on the table, or targets them specifically to kill for food. Like most species, hammerheads urinate through their skin, giving the meat a terrible ammonia taste. The exceptions are mako sharks and threshers. Next time, Rosie, go look for one of those if it’s shark tacos you crave.
Quartiano addresses conservationists via WSVN7, stating that there are "metric tons of sharks being killed daily right outside of our coast. You're targeting the wrong guy." Watch the WSVN7 news report below:
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