Learjets on final approach ride wakes of noise, the whoosh of traffic throbs off the seawall and the wail of the lumpen mob soars over Circuit avenue.

It’s summer.

It’s time for the earnest toilers of commerce to harvest the golden hordes. In fact, it’s July 21 and the Monster Shark Tournament is in Oak Bluffs and with it the yahoos in their plastic boats, rafted up three, four to a mooring — hundreds of them bobbing in the crowded harbor.

I am writing to share some observations with regard to my protest activities against the Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament last Saturday afternoon. Between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. I paddled my kayak with attached non-confrontational signs throughout the harbor. My goal was to present the shark fishermen and spectators with the reality that shark populations worldwide have decreased by 90 per cent over the past 40 years and that this tournament should become a catch-and-release event.

After a weekend that the police chief called one of the busiest in years, with several fights and more than 20 arrests, Oak Bluffs police and town officials said they are looking at better ways to manage the crowds that come to the town for the annual monster shark tournament.

“Our calls for service were way up, our incidents were way up, at times we were pretty much overwhelmed on Saturday night,” Oak Bluffs police chief Erik Blake told the selectmen at their meeting Tuesday.


Some came to revel in a summer weekend on the harbor, and others jostled for a prime spot to see the action. Some happened upon the hubbub, curious to see what all the fuss was about, and a few came to protest.

The word of the day was sharks: it was shouted when people saw a boat coming in with a telltale fin or tail, and T-shirts, hats, balloons and stuffed animals bore the image of the fish.

Johns Fish Market

Atlantic bonito are here. After rumblings over the last two weeks, reports are coming in that the summer’s fastest swimmers have entered Island waters. We’ve heard that Atlantic bonito, which usually reside in warmer waters, have been taken at The Hooter, a buoy that marks Muskeget Channel.

Capt. Porky Francis of Edgartown said he also is hearing reports that bonito are being taken at Hedge Fence, a shoal that is off Oak Bluffs.

Jawsfest: The Tribute has received numerous questions regarding our Summer for the Sharks conservation initiative, with people wondering if we are against the Boston Big Game Monster Shark Tournament that begins this week. The answer to this question is no; however, we would like to see that tournament convert to a catch-and-release event, as is happening with many such tournaments today. As a local business owner, who also runs TicketsMV.com, I fully appreciate the revenue derived by local businesses from events. I also appreciate that select shark populations have declined by a frightening 90 per cent in the last 40 years.