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Zell Bites, DeGroot Writes

Sam Zell bolstered the real estate market this morning when he went on CNBC and basically said we were at or near a bottom in prices and that the market will get moving next month.

I'm really starting to wonder about this guy.

Anyway, speaking of sharks, we all know an Austrian fellow was killed by one during a commercial feed-the-sharks outing with a company from Riviera Beach. Below, John DeGroot offers remembrances of sharks past along with some interesting data:



My Pulp Rants are often condemned as the bilious works of an aged hack (which I am). Trouble is, I suffer from way too much time in my dotage – while convinced that the Golden Age of Print Journalism is deader than my 70-year-old libido. And so I am too often moved to rant. Like most media Cassandra’s, I’ve engaged in considerable teeth-gnashing over the rampant greed of Corporate Journalism that has sucked the life blood and marrow from today’s newspapers. However… What frightens me even more is the growing void of creativity and critical thought amid the pop people populating today’s newsrooms. And the thing of it is, South Florida is up to its ass in great enterprise stories. Let’s take a simple thing like sharks, for example. Certainly sharks are a story when the eat somebody – as in the case of today front page Herald story. But having “covered” this rather interesting shark death, how many journalists will bother to wonder: “So what else is up with sharks?” Of course, I spent many golden hours playing with sharks as a boy living in-near poverty in a trailer on Hollywood Beach after my father lost our entire family’s lifesaving’s on a sure fire system in one season at Gulfstream, Hialeah and Tropical. However, my father’s infatuation with horses that led to our trading a sprawling Main Line Philadelphia estate staffed by servants for a 27-foot Alma trailer is a whole other story. Which is how and why I had a great many adventures with sharks as a boy. The best times were in the summer when the ocean was calm and the sharks fed close to shore. Which is how and why we loved to feed them. Being kids, we would beg junk fish from the fishing boats at the end of day – usually Bonita, grunts and so on – which we would take back to the trailer park in gunny sacks. Now back then, they’d built jetties running maybe a hundred feet into the ocean in an early attempt to prevent beach erosion. Anyhow, we would carry our junk fish out to the end of a jetty at the south end of the trailer park. Once there, we would run a rope through their gulls, gut them so they would bleed and then toss them into the water – with the lucky one of us holding the fishless end of the rope. Most times, it took less than 10 minutes for the sharks to come circling around the foot of the jetty – and then another 20 minutes for the Hollywood police to respond to a frantic

call from some scaredy-pants grown-up. Of course, the police knew who we were, having been responded to a great many trailer park shark complaints before. And so, as usual, the officers of the day would lecture us about the dangers of shark baiting and then take out their revolvers to shoot at the sharks – which was about the best it could get for a gaggle of summertime boys and a bunch of bored cops.. It was best when one of the cops actually hit and wounded a shark. But I don’t remember the cops ever actually killing one. Either way, it was high drama way beyond a 10-cent Saturday matinee what with all the gun fire, circling sharks and anxious adults clustered on the shore. But now it’s 60 years later and I’m no long baiting sharks with junk fish because that’s not what you do when you’re on Social Security. No matter. I’m still moved by sharks. Why? Probably because, as a semi-student of Carl Jung, I believe sharks are the closet thing most of us can come to the true primeval as a dark power that still sparks terror in our reptilian brain (Amigdilla) and also why one of my all-time favorite movie moments is the night scene in Jaws where Robert Shaw recalls* all the men he saw killed by sharks after the Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese sub in the Pacific. (*Dialogue, by the way, which Shaw himself wrote.) Personally, I think dancing with the Amigdilla explains why people risk their lives climbing mountains, getting $20 blow jobs from crack whores, or open diving with sharks. Anyhow…. There’s a great enterprise story begging to be told about South Florida’s shark industry – not to mention the aphrodisiac powers of the creatures’ fins, which go for $24 a pound at the docks.


2000 2006 FLORIDA Sharks Caught Total Pounds 3,158,925 3,656,564 Trips 2,356 2,077 Avg. Pound Price $0.38 $0.31 Pounds Per Trip 1,341 1,761 Earnings per Trip $510 $546

Shark Fins Total Pounds 88,698 115,064 Trips 884 1,407 Avg. Pound Price $16.75 $24.02 Pounds Per Trip 100 82 Earnings per Trip $1,675 $1,968

BROWARD Sharks Caught Total Pounds 13,758 5,576 Trips 74 21 Avg. Pound Price $0.38 $0.31 Pounds Per Trip 186 266 Earnings per Trip $71 $82 Shark Fins Total Pounds 44 29 Trips 5 2 Avg. Pound Price $16.75 $24.02 Pounds per Trip 9 15 Earnings per Trip $147 $348

MIAMI-DADE Sharks Caught Total Pounds 66,562 56,353 Trips 34 45 Avg. Pound Price $0.38 $0.31 Pounds Per Trip 1,958 1,252 Earnings per Trip $744 $388 Shark Fins Total Pounds 2,809 632 Trips 22 9 Avg. Pound Price $16.75 $24.02 Pounds per Trip 128 70 Earnings per Trip $2,144 $1,687

MONROE – (KEYS) Sharks Caught Total Pounds 354,123 529,185 Trips 128 245 Avg. Pound Price $0.38 $0.31 Pounds Per Trip 2,767 2,160 Earnings per Trip $1,051 $670

Shark Fins Total Pounds 7,095 20,621 Trips 47 183 Avg. Pound Price $16.75 $24.02 Pounds per Trip 151 113 Earnings per Trip $2,529 $2,707


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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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