“Endangered”—You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

By Christie Wilcox | July 12, 2014 10:40 pm
The smiling family and their catch—a large great hammerhead. Photo from MarktheShark.com

The smiling family and their catch—a large great hammerhead. Photo from MarktheShark.com

This past week was supposed to be a happy week for Rosie O’Donnell. She was ecstatic to announce that she’s re-hooked her old job on The View, and will be joining its cast next year. But instead, Rosie is being scrutinized for a different catch—one made two years ago.

In early 2012, photos began circulating of Rosie with Mark the Shark, a notorious fisherman who pompously claims he has killed over 100,000 sharks. Dangling in the foreground is a great hammerhead, the largest of the hammerhead species and one listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List since 2007 (prior to that they were ‘data deficient’). Rosie was immediately and loudly criticized for the act, as the species had newly become protected under Florida law.

Rosie did not respond well to the critique. “chill people – really – my family fishes” she tweeted  to those calling for an apology for her actions. In response to one tweeter, she classily replied “it was years ago asswipe – b4 they were on the endangered list”. After the recent resurgence of the story due to a Slate article by widely acclaimed shark scientist and conservationist David Shiffman, Rosie stuck to her guns. “before hammerheads were illegal – my daughter caught one – end of story” she tweeted.

Or, to phrase her argument simply: the animals weren’t “endangered” when her family caught them, so back off.

She’s right, in a sense—great hammerheads and most other sharks are not listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Only one shark is currently listed, and that is the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini). It is not illegal to kill a great hammerhead in federal waters, which is exactly why Mark the Shark is still has a business catching large ocean predators.

But whether an animal is listed under the ESA and whether that animal is endangered are completely separate. The definition of the term “endangered” has nothing to do with US regulations, or even international listings like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A species or population is endangered if it is on the brink of extinction. Period.

Endangered is endangered, whether we recognize it or not.

Endangered is endangered, whether we recognize it or not.

When biologists call a species “endangered”, we’re not referring to some legal status of protection. That’s not what endangered means. Endangered means that the species or population is at risk—that its numbers are low, its growth rates slow, and its ability to bounce back after human impacts of any kind is weak. Scientists discover that a population or species is vulnerable through the collection of data on its abundance, trends in growth or decline, and predicted resilience, and often, these data are compiled to create a general threat level in the IUCN’s Red List. But a species doesn’t have to be listed, even by the IUCN, to be endangered. Many of the “data deficient” species on the IUCN’s Red List are still probably endangered—we just don’t have the numbers to show it yet. Endangered is a state of being, whether a given regulatory agency, intergovernmental body, or country decides to recognize it.

Species that are endangered are struggling to survive. There aren’t as many of them. They don’t live in the areas they once roamed. Their genetic diversity is much lower than it once was, leaving them vulnerable to an ever changing environment and at risk for pandemic disease. They can’t sustain losses that once would have been considered small. They’re literally fighting for their lives, their very continued existence on this planet. And in many cases, the difference between that and extinction is in our hands.

Not all endangered species are protected, and even those that are aren’t protected everywhere. The fact is, as a global human population, we kill lots of endangered species legally every day. Six of the seven species of sea turtle are listed as one of the three categories used for plants and animals that are facing a higher risk of global extinction by the IUCN Red List (the last is data deficient) and all that are found in US waters are listed under the ESA, yet worldwide, more than 40,000 of them are killed legally every year. Australia, Japan, and Mexico are among 42 countries that don’t recognize these animals as endangered and allow them to be hunted legally. Lions? IUCN says they’re vulnerable. The IUCN estimates that lion populations have plummeted by 30% in the last twenty years, yet you can legally kill them in many African countries, and in South Africa, they are specially bred for captive or “canned” hunting by tourists. Even a flagship conservation icon—the polar bear—isn’t out of reach of hunters. Though listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, threatened by the ESA, and depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, you can still legally hunt them in some parts of Canada.

Rosie 'and the boys' amongst dozens of shark jaws caught and killed by Mark the Shark. Photo from MarktheShark.com

Rosie ‘and the boys’ amongst dozens of shark jaws caught and killed by Mark the Shark. Photo from MarktheShark.com

There is no doubt that hammerhead sharks in general are in trouble, including the great hammerhead Rosie caught. The IUCN Red List places great hammerheads solidly in the endangered category, saying that although numbers are hard to pin down, it’s likely the species has declined by 80% in the last 25 years. Like many top predators, hammerhead sharks live long lives and reproduce slowly, making them highly vulnerable to fishing pressure and other threats.

Rosie isn’t the only woman to come under fire lately for legal hunting of endangered species. Nineteen year old Kendall Jones has come under attack for hunting lions and other threatened animals—all legally, to my knowledge—and the threats have gotten so vicious that one hopeful congressman even tweeted that he would pay $100,000 for nude pictures just to shame her (which, for the record, is FLAT OUT DISGUSTING AND WRONG, no matter what animals she has or hasn’t killed). But Kendall describes herself as a “conservationist”.

There is plenty of evidence that such behavior is ecologically damaging. Reducing numbers of already threatened species further ensures their demise. It may not take much to push the great hammerhead or any of the currently-endangered species into the IUCN’s final category: extinct. Even if these species can survive these individual acts, the overall practice of trophy hunting has clear negative effects. Trophy hunting has lasting evolutionary impacts, like decreased horn size in rams or decreased overall sizes in fish. While Kendall defends her hunts saying species like lions ‘need to be killed for conservation’, studies have found that hunting apex predators—even in areas of relative abundance—doesn’t just lessen their numbers, it undermines the ability of those that aren’t killed to function in the ecosystem. When the delicate web of interspecies interactions is torn apart, the effects ripple outward. We know that the decline of sharks is having adverse impacts on the oceans—impacts that are already being felt in our fisheries. While conservation law can be messy and complex, the effect of hunting rare top predators is simple: it’s bad for the environment.

Yet Rosie and others still stand behind the idea that what they have done shouldn’t be challenged simply because it isn’t illegal. Ultimately, the question is a moral one: is it wrong to kill an animal whose species is near extinction if your country does not protect it? Is it ethical to contribute to ecological decline when such actions could be easily avoided? Are your entertainment and pride worth more than entire species, or even entire ecosystems?

The proud angler. Photo from MarktheShark.com

The proud angler. Photo from MarktheShark.com

As a celebrity, Rosie’s actions carry weight. They set an example for thousands of fans. Rosie had the chance to learn from her actions, to educate herself on the effects of trophy fishing and even—*gasp*—admit she did something fishy that she shouldn’t do again. Instead, she continues to defend her ignorance ferociously, regurgitating over and over that it wasn’t “endangered” without any concept of what that word really means. Though many have offered to politely discuss the topic with Rosie, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Instead of listening to critique, she has acted like a petulant child, sticking her fingers in her ears and screaming “NAH NAH NAH I’M NOT LISTENING.”

You don’t get let off the hook on this one, Rosie, even though it was “years ago”—not because of what you did, but because of your actions since. You have had ample opportunity to learn and grow, and you have chosen to remain ignorant and defensive. We all make mistakes, Rosie. “To err is human,” as the saying goes. But our character is defined by how we learn from those errors, and sadly, as far as I can tell, you have learned nothing.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Evolution, More Science, select, Top Posts
  • Kat

    I think it’s still a pretty happy week for her despite how hard this type of community is trying to take it away. 😉

    • Ray Mitchell

      the only thing taken away, as far as i can see from my tiny swiss perspective, is the life of the shark…by the type of people Rosie seems to be…

      • Kat

        Exactly. So the writer was wrong. 😉

      • Pam

        Exactly. The shark is what’s important here. I suspect this family photo will stay in play as long as sharks are under pressure. It will become a symbol for what not to do. Only video of the killing would speak louder.

  • Kat

    Oh, also, people can play semantics all they want but it should be perfectly clear to any reasonable human being that when defenders say that the hammerheads weren’t endangered, they mean they weren’t listed as endangered by US standards. And frankly, that’s how the conservationists have worded it as well-they keep talking about the fish being endangered per the IUCN list, not as a strict definition of the word.

    • JWrenn

      I don’t think the author is arguing the semantics of the wording…she is arguing that just because it is not endangered…that doesn’t make it ok to kill the animal. Rosie to some extent used the endangered title to say it was ok to kill the hammerhead. The author is arguing that whether the animal was endangered, listed as endangered, or not technically listed at all…it’s a bad idea to kill them. In other words Fishing/hunting apex predators is bad at all times not just when the government makes it illegal.

      • Kat

        It appears that she’s arguing, at least in part, the semantics of the word, because she tweeted myself and many others numerous times talking about how I and others who don’t agree with her, “fundamentally don’t understand what endangered” means. And when I made a comment explaining exactly what it did mean, it was deleted.

        • JWrenn

          Well i can’t speak to the tweets. It is possible she has also begun a debate/argument with some of the commenters on the semantics of the word.
          The argument definitely goes beyond the semantics to the actual effect of being endangered. It technically has 2 meanings. One that it is labeled as endangered by the feds. Two that the population is so low in actuality that the animals are in danger. If you don’t consider the second part when deciding to fish or hunt game then you can cause damage you did not intend to. It is at the heart of the issue with Rosie.

          Now, she shouldn’t be held to some crazy standard where she has to study everything under the sun and be way ahead of the feds. Instead she should just apologize for doing something dumb, and say in the future she will stay away from killing apex predators and make it a teachable moment. Everyone screws up and if you hunt or fish sometimes you might kill something you should not have. In this case she did, but didn’t realize it because the feds didn’t even know at the time.

          I hope everyone can move away from the semantics of it and focus on the issue. Animals in danger would do much better if people hunted less apex predators, and checked up on things like population health before going out and killing something for fun.

          • Kat

            I just don’t think anyone is the position to be telling her to apologize and be repentant and other such things. It should be more than good enough that she hasn’t done it again (this stuff is from over 5 years ago) and that she hasn’t been anywhere near as rude as these supposed shark conservationists.

            When thousands of people are trying to make this a shameful moment, it’s not much of a wonder that it’s hard to find the teachable moment. And, really, a good teacher never shames.

          • JWrenn

            People think what she did was wrong, and that her reaction was wrong so they are saying it. Just like she has the right to say she wasn’t. I think she will have to decide what she thinks and go that way but I think saying “hey I didn’t know they were endangered I will check from now” is not much of a hardship. So, yeah I think she should do it. Does that mean I hate her or even care beyond just thinking something…no. Not gonna change a thing in my life. Probably would make her life a little easier though.

            In the end right and wrong are usually just made up by the majority, and by individuals. Being a celebrity and sharing things on the internet opens you to judgement on these things. She put it out there…she is getting judged.

          • Kat


            No, they’re not just “saying it.” What they’re saying is completely out of context. They’re purporting her to have “hunted an endangered fish for fun.” That’s not true. They’re saying that she responded rude and angrily after she was called out for hunting an endangered fish. That’s not true. Etc., Etc.

            The problem isn’t that she’s a celebrity, that she did something wrong, or that this author must be really bored in her efforts to conserve the ocean that she’d take such a petty thing and help make it national news. The problem is the misinformation that’s being spread by people like her and others who are supposedly working to make sure the ocean stay ecologically balanced. It’s on thing to get judged on facts, its completed effed up to be judged on untruths.

          • JWrenn

            Ok, do you have some links that show she was not rude in her response? From what I have seen I think she was pretty rude and didn’t handle it very well. In addition from what I have seen I think she did hunt an animal that was endangered..and she did it for sport if not fun. It was not listed as endangered, but it was still technically endangered. The difference is really pretty big here because I don’t think enough sport hunters of any type learn enough about the environments they effect. Still if you think she was misrepresented I would love to see what she actually said. I haven’t seen anything that says this article was not accurate.

          • Kat

            A link is in this very article-she responded quite politely and civilly numerous times. One or two tweets that call someone an asshat after 1000’s of tweets that called her a fat dyke, an ugly cunt, a murdered, blah blah does not a rude person make.
            I had a long ass response written out but I decided to delete it because I regret that I’ve been a party to giving these bloggers a quick 5 minutes. Maybe by ignoring them, they can actually get to work on some form of conservation rather than spend a great portion of their time using playground bully tactics all over social media in order to paint someone a villain and latch onto their fame.

          • JWrenn

            Can’t find much on the twitter accounts about all of it, probably deleted to calm the waters. Really whether Rosie was rude or not is a minor things and whether she was right or wrong doesn’t matter much either. I think most likely she didn’t know that the Hammerheads were in fact endangered as they were not listed yet. In fact I am not sure there is any way to know. So I have to agree Rosie should not take flak for this on that point. I do think that she react to vitriol which is well..understandable. Sometimes the internet gets all bitchy and you react…just the way it goes and I can’t blame her. I do think that in a perfect world her reaction should have been “if I knew they were in such bad shape I never would have hunted them. Going to do some reading to make sure it never happens again. I still support fishing as a sport and will never stop loving it”. We do not live in a perfect world and to judge anyone that way is not fair so again..she gets a pass from me anyway on that.

            The point about an animal being endangered when it is in fact in trouble due to low population rather than when it is on a list is different. I think it still stands and I hope most people take that fact away rather than anything about Rosie. So if you are going to go fishing, or hunting, check about your area and know what to catch and what to throw back. Just what I think would be best.

            On another point, nice debate on this, much more civil than I am used to:)

          • Warren Armstead Jr

            However, this even says also, Thanks also to i Sheila ( is Australian and New Zealander English for a female ) named JWrenn for that this i of her said responses to this i of her said columns on that that’s so also of her and on that that’s NOT so also of her now here which recounts also that she’s NOT sure also about it now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ In fact, I am NOT sure there is any way to KNOW…. ‘ ‘ ” for herself, for herself too as well, for herself too to boot, for anyone whoever accepts also that this even says also, Thanks also to i Sheila ( is Australian and New Zealander English for a female ) named JWrenn for that this i of her said responses to this i of her said columns on that that’s so also of her and on that that’s NOT so also of her now here which recounts also that she’s NOT sure also about it now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ In fact, I am NOT sure there is any way to KNOW…. ‘ ‘ ” him/herself for him/herself, for fans, for readers, for others also and even for us, too….

  • Dennis

    If I was yelled at by a thousand angry voices I probably also wouldn’t listen. That’s just an effect of being overwhelmed. Maybe she needs time before she can hear and listen to the reasonable voices.

    • Cindy Goodwin

      Surely it would at least give you pause for thought. If that many people think it is a wrong thing to do, then maybe you might take a moment to learn why they think it is wrong?

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  • Rory Tipping

    Part of the reason these Sharks are endangered is because this bonehead and her friend killed most of them. Idiots!!

  • gally227

    I will not take Rosie O’Donnells’s side in this. First of all I don’t think Rosie has ever done any research or even googled “sharks” prior to her catching a hammerhead on “Mark the Shark”s boat 2 years ago. If she had, than perhaps she would have thought twice about going out “fishing” with Mark the Shark. Mark the Shark is all about making money and killing sharks because he obviously fears sharks, and his clients who board his boats must also fear them. Nothing like being preyed upon!
    When we fear something we want it out of our lives so we no longer have to deal with it, except by killing sharks and remember this, 100 million sharks are brutally murdered every year by shark finners who catch live sharks, hack off their fins and throw them overboard where they die a excruciating painful death. Without their fins they cannot swim or move water thru their gills. All fish feel pain!!

    We all should be caring what happens to the sharks as sharks are essential to the ocean’s fragile eco system. For millions of years sharks have been the keepers of the oceans, the apex predator of the oceans maintaining an equilibrium by killing weak or injured fish maintaining healthy fish stocks. Without sharks to keep the balance, it allows for other fish or aquatic species to become overpopulated. Prime example is the increase of jellyfish around the world, jellyfish eat everything, fish, even other jellyfish. With shark populations decreasing to the point of extinction in the next 10 -15 years another species stingrays are increasing in numbers which is now affecting shellfish along the East Coast of the U.S as shellfish is a favourite on their menu. As one species thrives another becomes extinct, this has a significant impact on the oceans causing them to become over acidic. If the oceans die, we die!

    That’s the other, humans are not on a shark’s menu, in fact they don’t like how we taste. The unfortunate thing is to a shark we swim like an injured fish, windmilling our arms and kicking our legs on the surface thrashing about!
    For those who surf from 50′ below your surfboard and your legs hanging over the side resembles a fat juicy seal. The only way a shark can find out if it’s edible is by a quick bump, turn, than a bite. After a bump you have seconds to line up and punch the shark on the snout to let it know you are not on his menu before it takes a bite out of you. Believe me you’ll want to hit it on the snout!!

    Now another misconception, yes, when you swim in the ocean there are sharks swimming around you, you are probably not even aware of them. They simply are not interested in you. You are more likely to get hit in the head by a coconut than bitten by a shark. Yes, sharks do occasionally bite, and yes, fatalities do happen. Bleed outs from a large bite happen in 10 mins. It’s not like there is a trauma unit or rescue helicopter on the beach. There are rules when swimming in the ocean, and that’s to swim in a group, surf with others, do not swim or surf after dusk or at dawn or alone. Avoid areas where gulls are feeding, this means schools of fish are there, where there are fish, there are sharks feeding!
    Now for the biggest reason why I am writing this, Shark fins, meat contain a very high % of mercury and other toxins. A recent study showed that sharks have over 70% the legal acceptable amount for mercury. In other words they are not safe for consumption at all Therefore the good that sharks do for our oceans they are much better off in the oceans where they really do take care of us all.
    As for fishing with “Mark the Shark” and others. If you do fear sharks become certified in scuba, go on a shark dive and you’ll find out that sharks are beautiful, mesmerizing and actually are more afraid of you than you are of them. Scuba puts you in touch of another world, alien in so many ways as it’s the least explored. 70% of the planet is blue! Once you scuba a whole new world opens up and fears vanish, with respect and appreciation replacing it.
    I have been scuba diving for over 38 years and had my very first shark experience in W. Palm Beach just 2 weeks after my open dive certification at age 16. I have loved diving and diving with sharks ever since. We cannot allow these vital beautiful animals to become extinct. No Blue, No Green.

    As for Rosie O’Donnell, I don’t think she is the sharpest tool in the shed, and I suspect she listens to the advice of others, just repeating their thoughts, words without having to use much of her grey matter at all..
    Remember, not everything you read on the internet is true, nor is what people have to say. If you want to know the truth, go to the source! scuba.about.com/od/sharks/p/Wild-Sharks-May-Soon-Be-Extinct-Shark-Finning-And-Other-Threats-To-Sharks.htm

  • Katherine

    I’ve seen the twitter “debate” surrounding this issue and it’s rather…distasteful. That is, the distasteful aspect is concerning the response from the so called conservationists. One should greatly hesitate before calling this author (or her followers) a biologist. By all accounts, most of the people weighing in on this issue are still students, or worse, have no formal training whatsoever in biology or any other science related field. In other words, they are simply hangers on of the information other people are putting forth.

    Real biologists understand that a small time fishing operation that includes a few celebrities on their roster of clients is in no way affecting the ocean or endangered fauna in any real capacity. Articles like this come from fringe members of the conservation community who are more interested in gaining a few more twitter follows and notorierty than they are interested in protecting the fauna of the ocean and preserving ecological balance.

    Real biologists also understand that pollution and chemical spills, huge commercial operations over fishing, and the use of equipment that immediately kills endangered species is the brass and tacks of ocean and fauna degradation. These are the same biologists who spend their days working towards strengthening EPA laws rather than writing a few articles with the sole purpose of shaming people.
    So to the author-you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. The delivery of your article will only serve to help people like you congratulate each other on your snark. In the meantime, you’ve pushed other people away from the conservation effort by being so petty.

  • NicholB

    If you’re famous, with a position on tv providing you with a megaphone for what you want to say .. that also makes you somewhat more responsible to think about what you say, and what you do. No surprise if people are angry if you misuse your position to advocate immoral actions that may help drive to extinction whole species. The pure fact that you want to hunt these sharks means you know they are special.

  • JesseG

    I thought I was clicking on something good for how this has been retweeted and my wife talked about it. What a hack job by someone who seems bitter she didn’t get to talk to a celebrity. You need to educate yourself by reading the major threats on the IUCN findings of the hammerhead. A couple fishing trips isn’t making these magnificent creatures endangered

  • Pam

    Some will never see how their single action makes a difference. Killing sharks for sport is not smart, no matter how you look at it. She could do something very good by listening, learning and understanding the significant role these animals play in the ecosystem. Seems the conversation has passed that point. Too bad.

    • Kat

      From IUCN: Major threats
      Due to the distinctive head shape of this genus, it is typical for catches to be reported at the genus level, Sphyrna spp. Therefore, it is rare to find fisheries statistics that are specific to one species of hammerhead shark. Due to the great hammerhead?s preference for warmer waters, it can be expected to make up a greater proportion of tropical catches of hammerheads than more temperate fisheries. Sphyrna mokarran is taken by target and bycatch, fisheries (Dudley and Simpfendorfer 2006, Zeeberg et al. 2006) and is regularly caught in the tropics, with longlines, fixed bottom nets, hook-and-line, and possibly with pelagic and bottom trawls (Compagno in prep). Hammerhead sharks, S. mokarran in particular, have been noted as a favoured target species due to the size of their fins (R.T. Graham pers. comm). Fin prices are rising, driven by the Asian Fin market (R.T. Graham pers. obs).

      There was a directed shark fishery operated by Taiwan around the northern coast of Australia that regularly caught great hammerheads up until 1986 (Stevens and Lyle 1989). Other possible threats include sport fishing (Pepperell 1992) and capture in anti-shark measures around the beaches of Australia and South Africa (Paterson 1990, Cliff 1995). Bonfil (1994) gives an overview of global shark fisheries. This species is mentioned specifically with reference to fisheries in Brazil, East USA and Mexico, however Sphyrna spp. are mentioned in the majority of tropical fisheries cited
      Nothing about small time fishing operations.

      • Clara Marshall

        Except for “Other possible threats include sport fishing”…

  • Kat

    Wow you’re bitter, I have comments dating back to forever so you can easily see that my account wasn’t created today. The *only* account created today was my husbands and he clearly stated in his comment that “his wife” (ME!) led him to this article. He can’t comment on it because we have the same IP address? Bad form!

  • Cuzsis

    “and in South Africa, they (lions) are specially bred for captive or “canned” hunting by tourists.”

    Which makes it a non-issue as far as concerns about endangered species go. These lions are being bred, like some places breed deer, for hunting. They are not part of the wild population, and if they weren’t going to be hunted, they never would’ve been born in the first place (because it takes money to raise lions and without the income from the hunting, they wouldn’t be there.)

    Now, why can you hunt lions legally in Africa still when their populations are falling? Well, the main reason their population is falling is due to habitat loss. Mostly human encroachment. But humans and lions can’t easily share the same space. Simply telling people to “stop hunting lions” is effectively saying to the people nearby “let lions eat you or your animals, which you need to survive, periodically”. And frankly, no one is going to go for that. So the situation is far more involved than simply getting legal hunting stopped. (Setting up preserves is a good start, but hard to do in places with high levels of poverty.)

    Most people don’t want a species to go extinct, the variety of life on earth is one of it’s fascinating wonders. But the challenges surrounding keeping them alive are much more complex than this article makes out.

    Attempting to drag someone through the mud for actions they took several years ago isn’t a terribly classy thing to do. Especially considering that the main offense was not doing in-depth research into the animal she was legally hunting (and making the correct ethical choice not to); having an article make what tantamounts to the same mistake, by not doing even basic research into things they are complaining about really comes across as the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Ron Oday

    im not sure why everyone is worried about a shark, pretty soon the ocean will be so toxic that nothing will live in it. so whats one more dead shark or whale, or any ocean creature. fukashima alone is a death sentence . not to mention all the other man made trash and pollutants.

    • Nancy Cousintine

      So it’s acceptable to make an already bleak situation worse? Would it not be better to try to do something to make things better? One person can be a voice, an activator for change. many people, hearing that voice, and actively doing something positive can make a positive difference. Just sitting around and saying how lousy things are and doing nothing about it at all is lazy, apathetic, and by lack of action is as good as saying that it is “Ok” for such things to continue.

    • Ron Oday

      lol nancy cousintine. the radiation leaking into the ocean in japan is about as bleak as it gets. i am one person and i used my voice to say we can protect sharks all we want. make it illegal to fish, but at the end of the day when those same protected sharks are swimmin around with plastic stuck in thier gills and they glow from radiation, it seems futile to get so worked up about rosie catchin one shark. if it was me or any joe fisherman nobody would have said anything . while im sitting around being lazy and apathetic , and not calling for rosies head on a platter for taking her kids fishing and legally catching a fish. what are you doing? are you guarding the ocean, saving sharks , i am a realist , i see the dead zone expanding from japan, i see the power plant leaking massive amounts of radioactive water every second of every day . what do you propose i do about it? . crucify rosie for fishing?. the scientists cant even stop it . i agree we need to protect animals, . but 1 shark being caught by a celebrity , pales in the light of a whole ocean being destroyed by human waste and radiation. i guess it seems our priorities are backwards. fix the ocean first, then we can round up the towns folk and hunt down rosie and her kids.

  • fish

    I fish, catch and release. I’m not against fishing. But perhaps Rosie needs to remember that catching and killing is HOW they BECOME ENDANGERED. Why must we always wait until something goes bad to then try to preserve it? Place reasonable limits on hunting and fishing BEFORE something is almost gone and then we will be able to enjoy it forever. I’m glad she had a good time with her family fishing…but no need to behave like a fu***** childish idiot when you get called on it. It sucks to be hounded about anything, but when you are a very outspoken public persona who has a whole lot to say about other peoples indiscretions, then you should be able to take it as well. Simple saying “I have said all I am going to. We broke no laws,” even if its said repeatedly, would suffice.

    • lump1

      Exactly. The right response to “Hey, I was killing them before they were endangered!” is “And it’s because of people like you that they are. Congratulations.”

      • jeandeux

        come off it. 100’s of fish not endangered……do we not fish them because they MIGHT become endangered. No. there are limits put into place and that species is monitored…….but fishing continues.

    • Kat

      A two man fishing operation is in no way contributing to sharks being endangered. Everyone who keeps purporting this to be true is completely ignorant and hurting the conservation efforts more than helping them.
      Also-obviously she can take it, as these so called conservationists continue to dish it out years and years later.

      • Bob Level

        Really? Mark claims to have killed 100,000 sharks himself. One man. How many other Marks are out there doing the exact same thing for profit? How many other companies with lots of boats are doing the exact same thing? This is why they are endangered now and may be extinct soon if this is not addressed and made illegal worldwide.

        • Kat

          Really and truly. If you’re a conservationist, you have only to click the IUCN website to read the major threats of hammerheads-mark the shark and rosie o is not of them, if you’ll pardon the sarcasm.

          To say that it’s not helpful for individuals to fish hammerheads is one thing, to say that individuals are anywhere close to “causing” the status of a fish being endangered is…well, ignorant. And it’s ignoring the larger problem, which real conservationists are quick to point out-the laws.

  • Vizzini


  • tkinil

    That creature is is known as The Guardian…..and one exactly like him guards a sacred place on a reef where my son’s grave is. He’s legendary, we’ve seen him many times and do indeed have photos to prove it. He actually attended my son’s funeral, and yes we are divers and we were underwater with him. Thank God, he’s in a different country then your beastly mentality was in………

    Did you know if all sharks were to die, so would the human race? The shark’s keep our ocean clean, from turning into ammonia. Our oceans are what makes our atmosphere…..the air we breath…….

    You kill the ocean you kill us…….you DOLT……nice going….teach your children to be especially selfish and just as stupid as you……..

  • Pauline Procopy

    i cannot imagine living in the bubble she lives in. everyone is a critic and sometimes it seems can’t wait to pounce on celebs. hope she can find the time to read more and come to an understanding about this issue. it is critical to stop over fishing these waters of these magnificent creatures.

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    before I looked at the check of $8543 , I accept
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    apple labtop. . there sisters neighbour has done this 4 only 19 months and by now cleared the debts on their
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  • Mike Richter

    She did nothing illegal; get over it people!!!!

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com Scott Treggiari

    osie (and millioms of other non-scientists) are not experts in species survival rates. She relied on the “system” to make it legal or illegal to catch a specific species. And, I am sure that she assumed, correctly so, that this shark hunter guy wouldn’t be in business if it was illegal. The blame here is not on Rosie it’s on the scientific community for not presenting the scientific data to get the ESA updated and to broaden it to include those “in trouble” species. This article is a tiny step in the other area where the scientific community needs to step up: educating the public about the species that are “in trouble,” and the difference between being endangered and being listed in the ESA. Great article.

    • Nancy Cousintine

      She engaged in hunting and killing an animal simply for the pleasure of hunting and killing it. this shark was not endangering her, or her family, and she didn’t need it for food, so what was the reasoning behind killing this creature other than for the thrill of destroying the life of this creature? Basically she hired a boat, with all it’s gear, and a man who knows how to catch and kill sharks, so she and her family could get some neat pictures, and some adrenaline rush. There are other things she and her family could have done that would have made for great picture moments, memories, and a bit of a thrill without killing anything unnecessarily. You don’t have to be destructive to have a good time. She basically taught her family that killing big fish “just because you can” if you can afford it, is a fun thing to do. Nice life lesson, that. Not.

  • preciousbwallace

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

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  • Nancy Cousintine

    What i have never been able to properly fathom is why anyone finds pleasure in killing something just for the sake of killing it. The hammerhead presented no danger to Rosie, or her family, nor was it a needed food item. The shark was killed just because it happened to a big cool looking dangerous (maybe if you were out there swimming in it’s territory) fish. I’d like to see a justification for killing it at all, at anytime, endangered or otherwise. Why is killing something, just for the sake of killing it, fun?

  • Warren Armstead Jr

    This says, Thanks also to Dr. C. Wilcox for that this i of her said columns on that that’s so also of Ms. R. ODonnell and on that that’s NOT so also of her now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ ” ‘ ‘ Endangered ‘ ‘ ” — You continue to keep using that term…. I DO NOT think it means what you think it means…. ‘ ‘ ” for herself, for herself too as well, for anyone whoever accepts also that this even says also, Thanks also to Dr. C. Wilcox for that this i of her said columns on that that’s so also of Ms. R. ODonnell and on that that’s NOT so also of her now here STILL recounts also that ” ‘ ‘ ” ‘ ‘ Endangered ‘ ‘ ” — You continue to keep using that term…. I DO NOT think it means what you think it means…. ‘ ‘ ” him/herself for him/herself, for fans, for readers, for others also and even for us, too….

  • Audrey Ernst

    Rosie O’Donnell is excited to start her prior job back. Being such a huge celebrity, she seems to attract allkinds of attention, be it good or bad. This controversy a few years back however, seems to be taking the spotlight off the good news of her rejoining The View. Is it fair to Rosie to have to fire back at fans who disapprove of her fishing for endangered sharks? Maybe it’s more than what she actually did, but how sheis handling her response. After all, she cannot undo what she’s already done. Maybe the best thing for herto have done was to listen to her fans, try to understand their point of view, and possibly apologize to anyone she may have offended from shark fishing, especially endangered species.

    Some of the people, who are angry with Rosie, seem to be upset with the fact that she’s using the word “endangered”, as an excuse to fire back and claim that when she caught the shark the species was not yet endangered. That doesn’t seem to be a fair statement. One could compare her statement to “Yes, I committed a homicide, but that was before it was illegal, so get over it.” The fact of the matter is, it seems she is having no sort of remorse over the matter. This can make anyone, especially her fans, concerned about the kind of person she really is. Another reason people could be growing upset with her is her immature response. As a public figure, she needs to be aware that everything she says and does is out inthe open. She most likely would have been better off just responding in a simple, mature manner even if she still completely disagrees with other people’s opinions.

    At the end of the day, Rosie O’Donnell’s choices are hers and hers only. Nevertheless, they may not be morally correct to others, or be approved by everyone that knows of her. She got her point across, although it seems she didn’t read between the lines in order to understand what everyone else was trying to get through to her. Hopefully, something good that will come from this public controversy is other people reevaluating their morals and understanding that the only thing that matters is that people try to stick to their beliefs because you can’t persuade anyone to agree with your own. It seems Rosie still may have a lot to learn.


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About Christie Wilcox

Dr. Christie Wilcox is a science writer based in the greater Seattle area. Her bylines include National Geographic, Popular Science, and Quanta. Her debut book, Venomous, released August 2016 (Scientific American/FSG Books). To learn more about her life and work, check out her webpage or follow her on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook.


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@NerdyChristie on Twitter

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