Fishing regulations for sharks could include Keys bridges – KeysNews.com
FLORIDA — Images of protected sharks reeled ashore to be used as photo props by a gaggle of grinning fishermen irked board members of Florida’s top conservation agency.
A mother’s description of seeing her 3-year-old daughter hospitalized after being severely mauled by a shark, along a mainland beach where anglers were tossing bait to lure sharks, also struck a chord.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission board members, meeting April 25, directed staff to draft tighter regulations on “land-based shark fishing” that will be go to public workshops before possible adoption.
“Clearly we need to do something,” FWC Commissioner Joshua Kellam said at the Fort Lauderdale session. “Some of these pictures on social media are disgraceful. We need to put something in place so it doesn’t continue happening the way it is.”
While the Florida Keys are not a hotbed for shoreline shark fishing, any state regulation on “land-based” fishing would apply to Keys fishing bridges and piers as well, an agency spokeswoman said.
While two sawfish species are Florida’s only shark species under federal Endangered Species Act protection, state law lists 26 shark species that are “prohibited from harvest in state waters.”
Catch-and-release fishing on sharks is permitted, but beaching a large shark long enough to allow people to pose for photos greatly reduces the shark’s chances for survival, speakers and staff said.
“That shark is dead,” Bob Harris of the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association said, displaying a photo of a large hammerhead surrounded by several men apparently celebrating. “With land-based shark fishing, what’s going on is an abomination.”
Melbourne Beach Mayor Jim Simmons called for the state to allow local communities to create zones that separate swimmers from