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The Last Shark Hunter
Published on August 6, 2011 by Sara Foss

Interesting essay in The Week by Juliet Eilperin about the last shark hunter in Miami, Mark Quartiano.

Here's an excerpt:

"IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a 21st-century incarnation of Captain Quint, the obsessive shark hunter from Jaws, Quartiano comes pretty close. While he’s a friendlier, more service-oriented version, the Florida charter-boat captain has built his entire professional reputation on his ability to slay the scariest sharks in the sea. Quartiano used to hunt sharks for his own amusement off Miami Beach, but he’s spent most of his career ensuring that other anglers can tell their own big-fish stories. He started out working as a police officer and then became a firefighter, at which point he managed to work four days a week and fish the other three days. Once he cobbled together enough sponsors to support himself by fishing full-time, he made the switch, and at this point he’s the only charter operator who still targets sharks. By his own estimate, he has killed at least 100,000 sharks over the course of his career: As he likes to joke, he’s outlasted his competitors, as well as the scores of sharks he’s hauled on board over the years.

Quartiano models himself in part after legendary shark hunters like Frank Mundus, who fished off Long Island in the 1950s and ’60s—when there were still plenty of sharks around to catch. Mundus earned the nickname Monster Man for the sharks he caught off Montauk, N.Y., and claimed he was the inspiration for Captain Quint, though author Peter Benchley said the character was a composite. Mundus caught two massive great whites in the course of his 40-year career, but eventually he embraced conservation, retired to Hawaii in 1991, and largely gave up shark hunting. Quartiano, however, has yet to temper his pursuit.

In fact, Mark the Shark prides himself on finding new species to kill in order to satisfy his customers, like the thresher sharks he’s managed to cull from a nearby area where they gather to give birth. He is no longer allowed to catch threshers under state law, which complicates this task. While he’s careful to adhere to state and federal rules, he thinks people apply a double standard when it comes to shark fishing. 'You get people who don’t like to hurt animals, but they’re mostly hypocrites,' Quartiano once told a local magazine. 'They want to release everything; meanwhile they go home and eat big juicy steaks.'"

Click here to read the entire piece.

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