By: Ed Killer, Treasure Coast Newspapers
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wednesday approved changes to shark fishing regulations, including management changes for the shore-based shark fishery.
Some minor changes to the original proposal also were made. These rules are intended to increase survival of released sharks, improve information gathering for the fishery and address some of the public safety concerns related to the fishery.
The rule changes go into effect July 1 and include:
- Creating a mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit applicable to all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license. However, those under 16 will take the educational requirement associated with the permit unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit.
- Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
- Requiring immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore. And requiring anglers to cut the leader, line or hook to prevent delaying release of prohibited species.
- Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water (when fishing from shore or from a vessel).
- Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel).
- Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks (when fishing from shore or a vessel).
- Defining beach, chumming and shore-based shark fishery.
- Cleaning and updating the current rule language….