FWC Proposes Protection for Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks

By: FWC Press Release
By: FWC Press Release

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday advanced its long-standing policy to protect stressed shark populations in Florida waters. The action came during the second day of its three-day meeting in Naples.

Sharks have been strictly regulated in Florida since 1992, with a one-shark-per-person, two-sharks-per-vessel daily bag limit for all recreational and commercial harvesters; a ban on shark finning; and a prohibition on roughly two dozen overfished, vulnerable or rare shark species.

“Florida has been recognized as a pioneer and a leader in shark management efforts for nearly 20 years,” said FWC Chairman Kathy Barco. “We recognize that maintaining healthy shark populations is critical to the sustainability of our marine ecosystem. The additional protections we are proposing would help preserve Florida’s valuable marine resources.”

The Commission proposes protecting four additional shark species that rely on Florida’s productive coastal waters for their survival. The FWC’s proposed rules would prohibit harvest of scalloped hammerheads, great hammerheads, smooth hammerheads and tiger sharks from state waters. Scalloped hammerheads are considered overfished and are experiencing overfishing, which means that fishing pressure is too high to be sustainable. Research indicates the other three species have also suffered severe population declines in recent decades.

In addition to the proposed rules, the Commission directed staff to work with stakeholders and anglers to develop an educational campaign highlighting proper fishing and handling techniques when catching and releasing sharks. Commissioners also asked staff to explore a trophy tag program for these important sharks. The tag, similar to the one used for tarpon, would allow anglers to harvest a shark for record purposes.

A final public hearing on the proposed shark rules will be during the November FWC meeting in Key Largo.

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  • by Rebeca on Sep 9, 2011 at 02:34 PM
    This is great news! If you are in Florida and near the Keys... be sure to attend the public hearing in November in Key Largo. I emailed FWC for more info.
  • by Fabian Location: London on Sep 9, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    The number of sharks is plummeting all over the world for many different reasons, mainly for their fins but also because of sport fishing. So this can be seen as a first step in protecting sharks, as well as ourselves.
  • by Al Location: Bradfordville on Sep 9, 2011 at 06:29 AM
    And then there were none. Fast forward 200 years: Why did those bozos in the 1900's and 2000's fish like there was no tomorrow. Shortsighted and foolish.
  • by Travis Location: Myrtle Beach on Sep 9, 2011 at 06:18 AM
    What one person experiences is not indicative to the general situation. Shark populations are in general decline worldwide. Sharks are important apex predators which regulate the populations of their prey items. Removal of shark species causes an explosion in the population of their prey items, which causes a decline in the population of THEIR prey items and so forth. There is a cascade effect that results from the declination of one species that can be devastating to an ecosystem which so many people depend on for their well-being. Regulations need to be tightened worldwide. Only when shark populations are deemed healthy and sustainable should regulations be loosened.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 9, 2011 at 05:54 AM
    People need to stop complaining about this kind of stuff and start complaining about seat belt laws, smoking bans, etc. These laws protect thousands or morons who need to experience some natural selection
  • by Susana Location: Miami, FL on Sep 9, 2011 at 05:49 AM
    There is scientific PROOF that up to 75 MILLION sharks are killed annually and that's from what we can catch and count. Sharks are apex predators and are needed for the health of the oceans. If sharks die, we die. So please, before you go on a mindless rant about "ew, sharks" educate yourselves and you'll see that sharks need all the protection they can get!
  • by AboutTime on Sep 9, 2011 at 05:22 AM
    We need to protect our sharks, and to Susan - Sharks, and Snakes are important to our ecosystem, as all living creatures are. We need to protect them, and those that feel as you do, need to wake up and educate yourself and themselves on the importance of all life.. I agree with you Thomas, we need to do more, and definitely not Less as others have commented....
  • by Anonymous on Sep 8, 2011 at 06:37 PM
    Do these people that make these laws even hunt or fish? Since when is there a shortage of sharks?? Ive gone fishing several times and caught nothing but sharks. The more rules they make, the less fun it gets.
    • reply
      by Rob on Sep 9, 2011 at 06:27 AM in reply to
      Hey Mr. Anonymous, read the article closer. CERTAIN TYPES of sharks. These rules are there to protect the species from being wiped out by people like you. Maybe we should fish, fish, and fish 'til there's no more fish? Then you can spend more time with your family instead of overfishing.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 8, 2011 at 06:37 PM
    Do these people that make these laws even hunt or fish? Since when is there a shortage of sharks?? Ive gone fishing several times and caught nothing but sharks. The more rules they make, the less fun it gets.
  • by Susan on Sep 8, 2011 at 06:15 PM
    Really??? They have nothing better to do? I am sorry but save the sharks....really? That's like protecting snakes. I just don't see this being very supported.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Sep 9, 2011 at 05:51 AM in reply to Susan
      You should be complaining about seat belt laws, helmet laws, smoking bands etc. These laws protect the lives of thousands of morons who need to experience some "natural selection".
    • reply
      by Jim on Sep 9, 2011 at 06:24 AM in reply to Susan
      Really?, All these creatures have a purpose. Snakes keep the rodent population down and are food for birds of prey. Sharks have a purpose too. Think, learn...
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