By Alastair Bland

In the spring and summer months, anglers armed with heavy line and large hooks drop anchor in the murky, current-torn waters between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge seeking the elusive, and occasionally gigantic, broadnose sevengill shark. As social-media hype stokes excitement among trophy seekers, some other fisherfolk and conservationists want to see the pursuit ended before it depletes shark numbers. While interest in catching large, breeding-age Sevengills has risen in recent years, it remains unclear whether the population can sustain such fishing. “There hasn’t been any long-term monitoring study of the population, so we have no baseline estimate,” says Sean Van Sommeran, founder of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Conservationists think the time has come to rewrite the laws on catching sevengills. In the absence of better data, it would be prudent to act cautiously. “Science takes time,” says David McGuire, founder of Shark Stewards, “and there is never enough convincing data until it is too late for many species.”

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Shark Hunt Stand Off

By Alastair Bland

In the spring and summer months, anglers armed with heavy line and large hooks drop anchor in the murky, current-torn waters between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge seeking the elusive, and occasionally gigantic, broadnose sevengill shark. As social-media hype stokes excitement among trophy seekers, some other fisherfolk and conservationists want to see the pursuit ended before it depletes shark numbers. While interest in catching large, breeding-age Sevengills has risen in recent years, it remains unclear whether the population can sustain such fishing. “There hasn’t been any long-term monitoring study of the population, so we have no baseline estimate,” says Sean Van Sommeran, founder of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation. Conservationists think the time has come to rewrite the laws on catching sevengills. In the absence of better data, it would be prudent to act cautiously. “Science takes time,” says David McGuire, founder of Shark Stewards, “and there is never enough convincing data until it is too late for many species.”

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About the author

A native to San Francisco, Alastair Bland is a freelance journalist who writes about water policy in California, rivers and salmon, marine conservation and climate change. His work has appeared at NPR.org, Smithsonian.com, Yale Environment 360 and News Deeply, among many other outlets. When he isn't writing, Alastair is likely riding his bicycle uphill as fast as he can.