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Gov. Cuomo catches shark, angers conservationists

NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo reeled in a big haul and the wrath of conservationists Sunday.

He posted two pictures to Twitter displaying a dead thresher shark he caught along with his brother, news anchor Chris Cuomo, during a Long Island Fishing trip. The thresher shark is categorized as vulnerable – a step away from endangered – by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation does allow fishers to catch common thresher sharks.

“This is an edible game fish that is indigenous to New York waters and catching them is allowable under both state and federal regulations,” said Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for Gov. Cuomo.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did an extinction risk analysis of the thresher shark following petitions to classify the species as threatened or endangers. They found that it is unlikely that the common thresher shark would be at risk of extinction over the next 30 years in their 2016 report.

But Cuomo’s 154.5 lb. catch has outraged some in the conservation community. His catch shows an “appalling lack of awareness and judgment,” Blue Planet Society, a conservation group, tweeted Monday.

Gov. Cuomo outlawed the possession and sale of shark fins in 2013.

“Not only is the process inhumane, but it also affects the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement at the time. “With this new law, New York will be doing its part to help preserve this important species and maintain a stable environment for them.”