A Victory For Florida Sharks!
Over a year has passed since we started our campaign to save Florida sharks and keep beachgoers safe. Our campaign addressed the growing concern over dead sharks washing onto shore as a result of land-based fishing, as well as, the public safety risk involved with chumming and shark fishing in the same vicinity as beachgoers. On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, we attended The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Meeting in St. Augustine, Florida. FWC staff presented a draft rule proposal to Commissioners. The proposal included the following: 1. Creating a mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit. 2. Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach. 3. Prohibiting delaying the release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore. 4. Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water (when fishing from shore and from a vessel). 5. Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks with live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel). 6. Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook (when fishing from shore or a vessel). 7. Cleaning up and updating the current rule language. FWC Commissioners have agreed to move forward with the proposed rule changes. They say these changes will increase the survival rate of released sharks and address some safety concerns regarding land-based shark fishing. The drafted rules will be brought back to FWC for final approval in February of 2019 in Gainesville, FL. We will be implementing a "Shark Watch" program with volunteers to monitor land-based shark fishing activities. Land-based shark fishers that break the law will be reported to FWC law enforcement. The days of sitting on sharks in Florida to take photos are over! We want to thank everyone that commented on the FWC's website, went to a workshop, and signed our petition.... this is our victory for our fellow earthlings!!!
Photo: Our shark saving partner Jim Abernethy and our Executive Director, Adam Sugalski at the FWC Meeting in St. Augustine, Florida.