The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is going to implement a statewide ban on chumming in July of 2019 to address shore-based shark fishing concerns.
Chumming refers to a widely-used fishing process that involves dumping chopped up fish parts, bones, and blood into the water to attract marine life. The final decision by the FTC to approve this new shore-based shark fishing regulation was made on February 20, 2019.
In addition to prohibiting chumming, the ban also requires a permit for shark fishing and calls for the immediate release of prohibited shark species such as the Great Hammerhead, Lemon Shark, Longfin Mako, and Tiger Shark.
Such regulations aren’t only intended to protect the safety of swimmers, but also to increase survival rates of released sharks by requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks when shore-based fishing.
Following the approval of these changes, many anglers expressed concern that the new restrictions could eliminate shark fishing, according to the Sun Sentinel.
However, the regulations allow fishermen to continue their angling activities as long as they obtain an annual shore-based shark fishing permit. All shore-based anglers over the age of 16 need to obtain the required free permit.
Currently, in the state of Florida, fishermen can harvest a few breeds of sharks, including the Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Blacktip, Bonnethead, and Finetooth.
According to the FWC, shark fishing has not negatively impacted shark populations. However, the controversial fishing practice had started to raise concerns for the safety of swimmers.
The need for updated restrictions on shark fishing arose in April of 2018 when people start notifying the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that shore-based shark fishing was increasing in popular swimming areas.
To address these concerns, the FWC-approved new shore-based shark fishing regulations will become active on July 1, 2019. However, methods for enforcing this ban along Florida’s 663 miles of shoreline are still being determined.
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