At its December meeting in St. Augustine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved draft changes to shark fishing regulations, including management changes for the shore-based shark fishery. These changes will increase survival of released sharks, improve information gathering of the fishery and address some of the public safety concerns related to the fishery.
The draft rules will be brought back before the Commission for final approval in February and include:
• Creating a mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit.
• Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
• Prohibiting delaying the release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore.
• Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water (when fishing from shore and from a vessel).
• 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).
• Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook (when fishing from shore or a vessel).
• Cleaning up and updating the current rule language.