SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel
Florida plans a crackdown on shark fishing from the beach, a controversial practice that yields hair-raising videos of writhing 12-foot hammerheads being hauled ashore.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will vote Feb. 20 on proposals to restrict the practice, in a plan intended to protect sharks and swimmers.
Sharks, particularly great hammerheads, can die from the physical trauma of being hauled from the water for photos and videos. And swimmers complain that they feel unsafe when the shark-fishing enthusiasts spread bloody fish parts in the water to attract sharks, although a wildlife commission report says there’s no basis for that fear.
The proposals would ban that practice, known as chumming. They would require that sharks be left in the water with their gills submerged, rather than dragged ashore. They would require a free shore-based shark fishing permit. And they would mandate the use of circle hooks, which tend to catch on the side of the mouth, rather than J hooks, which can hook a shark in the gut.