Controversial shark fishing tournament on North Carolina coast postponed due to pushback

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Monday, July 18, 2022
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A controversial shark fishing tournament on the North Carolina coast has been postponed.

HOLDEN BEACH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A controversial shark fishing tournament on the North Carolina coast has been postponed.

The tournament was scheduled to start July 15 on Oak Island, Ocean Isle and Holden Beach. Now, the tournament won't happen until after Labor Day.

Critics of the shark fishing tournament said it could have put swimmers at risk, which would have in turn hurt businesses.

"Sharks and people swimming along the coastline do not mix," Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden said to local ABC affiliate WWAY. "We don't want any bad press, and no one in their right mind is going to bring their children down here to swim."

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The tournament required participants to fish from the shore. The anglers would use baitfish dropped from kayaks about 300-600 feet offshore to entice the sharks.

"We don't use chum, the sharks are here already," tournament organizer and Southport business owner Marty Wright said. "And our waters are shark infested."

Wright doesn't personally fish for sharks, but he organized the event for his customers and fellow anglers. Wright said Oak Island Mayor Elizabeth White called him and asked him to change the date of the tournament.

The event will now take place the first week in October, which is after Labor Day and when the beaches will have fewer swimmers than they do during the summer months.

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