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Activists slam Dominican shark hunting tournament

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 11, 2013 at 10:38 am •  Published: January 11, 2013
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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A popular rum promoter has angered environmentalists with his plan for a shark-hunting tournament in the Dominican Republic similar to one he organized after the release of the movie "Jaws."

Newton Rodriguez has said he is planning to hold the tournament in February in waters just south of the capital of Santo Domingo following requests from supporters.

But the head of this Caribbean country's Natural Resources Department said Thursday he will not allow such a tournament because he aims to protect the country's wildlife. Dr. Bautista Rojas Gomez also said Rodriguez had not submitted a permit application.

The newspaper Listin Diario recently quoted Rodriguez as saying that tourism dropped and people grew afraid of sharks after the blockbuster hit "Jaws" was released in 1975, leading him to organize a shark hunt a year later that he qualified as extremely successful.

"It was the awakening of Dominican tourism. People began returning to the beach and people from all over the world began to visit us," he was quoted as saying.

Rodriguez, who has served as promoter for local rum company Barcelo, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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