Top

blog

Stories

 

Sharks in a Jar, Miami's Creepiest Tourist Trinkets, May Finally Be on the Way Out

Categories: WTF Florida

photo by Michael E. Miller
Sharks in a jar at a South Beach tourist shop
The trappings of a tourist trip to South Beach have changed over the decades. White linen suits became "I'm in Miami Bitch" shirts. String bikinis became bizarre fishnet dresses (albeit still worn over string bikinis). The circle of life. Throughout it all, however, there has been one creepy constant: sharks in a motherf---ing jar.

Anyone who's spent time in one of Lincoln Road's many trinket shops has seen them -- tiny, ten-inch creatures suspended in a mysterious blue liquid and simply labeled "Shark." But there are signs that SoBe's sharks in a jar are becoming an endangered species.

Wings, one of Lincoln Road mall's most popular shops, is getting rid of the infamous souvenir because of customer complaints. It's not a day too soon according to animal rights activists.

"I do not understand how a dead animal in a jar is something people would want to bring home as a souvenir," says Jillian Morris, founder of Sharks4Kids. "It is disgusting and unnecessary. As consumers we can make responsible choices to not purchase shark products and spread the message for others to do the same. Hopefully these items will be removed from store shelves in the near future."

But where do the sharks actually come from? Riptide set out to discover the source of the strange souvenir. The search began at South Beach's biggest souvenir shop: Alvin's Island on the corner of Lincoln and Collins. Two dozen small sharks floated near the front window like a strange science experiment. They had no sticker saying where they came from, just a price tag of $16.99.

"Why do you want to know?" asked the manager, who refused to give his name. "We don't give out the information of our suppliers."

Cater-corner at Wings, the same sharks were on sale for $5.98. "We're getting rid of them because so many people have complained," a manager explained. "That's why they are on clearance.

"I think they are raised in pools," she added. "They aren't from the ocean, I know that."

Little is certain about the cartilaginous curios except that they are controversial. In recent months, anger about the pickled fish has swirled on social media sites. In February, a Hawaiian TV station aired an exposé on a store selling the sharks as local spirit animals. In fact, the sharks had come from South Florida.

Morris says she has traced the sharks to the Fort Lauderdale company Holiday Souvenirs. The company's website indeed sells sharks in jars. State records show Holiday Souvenirs is run by Manuel and Barbara Pascal out of a small warehouse near Oakland Park Boulevard and NE Fifth Avenue. The Pascals, who also run Holiday Rentals, did not return Riptide's requests for comment.

Sharks have become increasingly protected in the United States. In 2011, California passed legislation banning the possession or sale of shark fins, considered a delicacy by some Chinese-Americans. A similar effort failed in Florida in 2012, however.

Online posts often identify the souvenirs as dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) pups. But shark expert David Shiffman tells New Times that pictures of the critter look more like the dusky smooth-hound (Mustelus canis), also known as the smooth dogfish. It's a big difference. Dusky sharks are protected in Florida, which would likely make the souvenirs illegal. However, smooth dogfish are one of a few species of shark that can be caught no matter how small.

Either way, tourists are increasingly turned off by the sharks in jars. Even some of the people selling them are upset. At Surf Style Miami Beach on Lincoln Road, an employee picked up one of the jars and then put it down in disgust.

"Ay, que crimen," she said. "Es horrible."

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith

It's already dead, right??!? So wrong, so creepy. Good thing I know the only unicorn around the 305 or there'd be so many more creepy trinkets

Rosie Millares
Rosie Millares

Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do jobspase.comONLY Don’t include ONLY >>>

Gabriel Veg
Gabriel Veg

Creepy souvenir? More like evil souvenir.

fherrightin
fherrightin

eat a dick & fuck her right in the pussy. 

Chgo Dave
Chgo Dave

I'll take one. quit being so weak. they taste good too !

Thomas
Thomas

Oh the liberals....always spreading there intolerance and cultural superiority, yet talk about inclusiveness and cultural diversity...BS. I'd much rather have right-wing religious imposing their values than liberals imposing theirs, at least the right wing religious are up front about it instead of hiding behind BS. Let the pre-teen and teen boys buy a shark in a jar, they are educational.

ghuyt12345
ghuyt12345

Any teacher can buy these from companies like Fisher Scientific.  They are not illegal and they are not decimating shark populations by offering them for sale in this shop.  These sharks were LEGALLY AND SUSTAINABLY harvested by commercial fishermen.  There are no protected species for sale here.  You people need to chill out - sharks don't get special treatment simply because you think they're "cool".

Shawn Leidenfrost
Shawn Leidenfrost

They're gross, but my kids love looking at them in the store. "No I'm not buying you one!" Lol! Such a strange souvenir.

Andrea Domergue
Andrea Domergue

Thank you. Now if we could only get shark meat out of Publix...

Ernest Seow
Ernest Seow

For %$5 on clearance, I'll grab one!

Brad Beaty
Brad Beaty

Sharks in a jar. Better than snakes on a plane.

ghuyt12345
ghuyt12345

Why?  Do you eat fish, chicken, pork or beef?  Why do sharks get special protection?

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...