Shark week is over and great white shark and Twitter star Mary Lee, the most popular shark since Jaws, has made her way back down the coast. But, not to worry shark lovers of the East End, this weekend the Carl Darenberg Memorial Shark’s Eye Tournament returns to the Montauk Marine Basin.
This year’s tournament is tinged with sadness over the death of Montauk Marine Basin owner Carl Darenberg Jr. late last summer. Darenberg Jr.’s father bought the marina in 1955 and his son became a well-known figure in the local community. Darenberg Jr. brought the tournament to the Marine Basin in 2013 and this year’s $25,000 in guaranteed prize money is provided by The Carl Darenberg Foundation along with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Tom O’Donoghue Associates in honor of Darenberg Jr.
“There is no other fishing tournament like Shark’s Eye,” said Harvey. “This tournament combines the thrill of shark fishing, practical conservation measures, and meaningful fisheries research and community involvement into a single event. It is truly the future of shark fishing tournaments.”
Anglers from all walks of life, including American music legend Jimmy Buffet with his boat Last Mango, have swarmed to the tip of the island to participate in the north Atlantic’s only satellite tag, catch-and-release fishing competition. Buffett said, “Such tournaments are the wave of the future.”
Five satellite tags will be made available this year by OCEARCH, a nonprofit organization and global leader in shark research whose Global Shark Tracker enables the public to track sharks, like Mary Lee, around the world. One of the satellite tags will be funded by Shark Hunters participant David O’Halloran, captain of multi-million dollar, high-tech fashion boat La Bella Donna. The shark receiving this tag will be named after Darenberg Jr.
Last year, teams tagged and released 53 sharks including 24 mako, 27 blue and two tiger sharks. Five of the sharks were satellite tagged.
“I’ve only seen a handful of tiger sharks caught in nearly 50 years here off Montauk. They surprised everyone the first day of the tournament Saturday,” commented Darenberg last year.
Of the 10 sharks satellite tagged in the last two years only one, Benchley, tinged in. It happened May 10 this year off Ocean City, Maryland, and has not been heard from since. Every other tagged shark has vanished.
Satellite tracks provide insight into the lives and challenges the sharks face during expansive migratory journeys that, in some cases, cross thousand of miles and multiple international territories. OCEARCH’s collaborating scientists believe the sharks were caught and killed by commercial fishermen all over the world.
Tagging operations this year will again be led by shark scientist Dr. Greg Skomal and his team. Satellite-tagged sharks will be named by competing anglers and local school children.
Limited team entries are still available. The entry fee is $950. Visit sharkseyetournament.com.