New shore-based shark fishing rules go into effect Monday

Regulations approved by FWC address some issues with catch and release

VIDEO: New rules are going into effect involving sharks off our coast.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – New shore-based shark fishing rules approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will go into effect Monday.

The regulations address some of the issues with catch and release, which animal activists say causes sharks to experience stress and physical damage that can often be fatal.

A video taken earlier this month shows a man who caught a 10-foot tiger shark in Jacksonville Beach.
The shark's gills were not submerged as it was pulled to shore. While it was legal at the time, starting Monday, if anglers catch certain shark species, such as the tiger shark, they will be required to keep the shark constantly underwater.

"There's actually a very long list, but the main ones we're focusing on are the hammerheads because they're susceptible to, basically, a lactic acid poisoning of the blood from prolonged fighting," said animal activist Adam Sugalski, who is the executive of OneProtest. "I think up to 90% die after post-release."

Sugalski said the days of taking a selfie with a shark are gone. Starting Monday, prohibited species will have to be released immediately, even if that means cutting the hook. 

"You see it online -- people catching a shark, holding it in the air, sitting on its back, for a selfie," Sugalski said. "I mean, it's time we move past that and really protect these sharks in our environment."

Nancy Tamurian, who has been fishing on the Jacksonville Beach Pier for nearly 15 years, said she often catches sharks, but that's never her goal.

"I don't believe in it," she said.

Tamurian said she's glad the changes are coming.

"This is a great hobby and a healthy practice for kids to come here and learn the right thing to do to respect what's in the ocean," she said. "That's how I've educated my children -- to do the same."

RESOURCE: FWC's shark regulations

The new Florida law also bans the practice of chumming, which is putting bait in the water along the beach. The ban is meant to protect both sharks and swimmers. 

There are also new rules regarding what kind of fishing equipment can and cannot be used. The regulations include:

  • Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait
  • Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks

The new regulations also require shark anglers ages 16 and older to apply for and get a special license at no cost. As part of that process, they also must watch an educational video informing them about shark fishing.

Sugalski also has a Save Florida Sharks campaign. Click here to learn more.

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