Nigel Barker Says Shark Hunting Is Not Fierce

We here at Boston Daily love animals. From gregarious turkeys to flustered mother ducks, we love all God’s creatures. (Aside from the ones that try to kill us.)

But we also love local traditions. So our feelings about this weekend’s 22nd Annual Oak Bluffs Monster Shark Tournament are conflicted. More than 200 boats will try to catch sharks off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, prompting an outcry from animal rights activists.

1216322954Including one dreamy noted fashion photographer.

The object of Bostonista’s affection, Nigel Barker, will be on the Vineyard this weekend to document the competition for the Humane Society.

“Sharks are beautiful creatures that warrant respect and protection. Tournaments deserve to be exposed for what they truly are – bloody spectacles held for nothing but huge cash prizes,” Barker said. “By documenting the suffering of these creatures I hope to bring about change in how sharks are viewed. Instead of killing them and hanging them upside down on the docks, sharks should be celebrated for their beauty and intrinsic value.”

. . . Sorry. What were we talking about again? We got lost in those gorgeous brown eyes.

Right, the sharks. The Humane Society claims even catching and releasing the fish is cruel, and likens the competitions to the public executions of yore.

These magnificent creatures. . . are hauled upon docks, weighed, and dismembered in grotesque displays. All of this takes place in an atmosphere of carnival and induced cheering[.] Children are encouraged to revel in the death and dismemberment of these creatures as well.

The event’s organizer, Steven James, says the Humane Society is on an “antifishing jihad.” But the event seems to be falling out of favor with officials on the Vineyard as well, who denied the tournament a license to serve liquor and forbade it from using town land for the event. And as any good fisherman knows, angling just isn’t as much fun when sober.

While we feel for the sharks, we’re happy the event is happening, since Nigel Barker seriously ups the Vineyard’s hotness quotient. But someone should probably tell him that trying to capture sharks on film in Oak Bluffs is dreadfully derivative.