Controversial shore-based shark fishing tournament date officially moved by organizer

HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY)- A controversial shore-based shark fishing tournament planned to begin this weekend has been moved.

A land-based shark fishing tournament planned for July 15 has leaders from Oak Island, Ocean Isle, and both Holden and Caswell beaches concerned.

Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden said the tournament isn’t good for business, especially during peak tourist season.

“Sharks and people swimming along the coastline do not mix,” said Holden. “We don’t want any bad press, and no one in their right mind is going to bring their children down here to swim.”

John Legge runs a Holden Beach business that depends on tourists.

“Being a big family beach, that shark fishing on the beach while there are guests here is just not a good idea,” said Legge.

Dale Schofield traveled from Ohio specifically to fish, both on and offshore.

Although he understands the concern, cancelling a tournament like this can hurt the local economy.

“It’s amazing how much revenue that brings to an area,” he said. “If somebody wants to bring a tournament to an area, more power to them.”

According to event organizer Marty Wright who is also the owner of Madkings Tackle Shop, and the sponsor of the event, fishermen could fish for sharks from Ocean Isle Beach to Oak Island.

Participants would only be using baitfish dropped from kayaks about 300 to 600 feet offshore.

“We don’t use chum, the sharks are here already,” said Wright.  “And our waters are shark infested.”

Wright said he personally doesn’t fish for shark and won’t make a profit off the event but wants to organize the event for his customers and fellow fishermen.

“Pull a tape and release them, they video their catch and then they catch and then they turn them back loose.”

Wright said he got a call from Oak Island’s mayor personally asked him to move the event to after Labor Day, when the beaches have less swimmers and agreed to move the event to the first week of October.

According to Wright he said state officials told him he can’t be stopped.

“Oh, it’s going to happen, unless the state stops it,” said Wright.

Holden said despite the event being moved, the event can still pose a problem.

“With the turtle season going through the same time period and our tourist season going through the same time period, it is not a good idea,” said Holden.

Holden confirms paperwork has been submitted to the courts to prevent this type tournament from happening.

We could not reach the proper state or court officials to find out the status or regulations surrounding shore-shark fishing.

According to General Statute 113-174.2, anyone engaged in recreational fishing in North Carolina coastal waters must have a coastal recreational fishing license.

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