FWC seeks input on shore-based shark fishing rules

- The tides could soon change when it comes to reeling in sharks in Florida.

FWC is looking to update rules and regulations, specifically for shore-based shark fishing and it wants the public's opinion.

Officials are looking at everything from requiring a special permit to limiting chumming from the shore. They want to find a happy medium for those who enjoy shark fishing on the beach and those who simply want to enjoy the beach.

On Clearwater Beach’s Pier 60, you’ll see plenty of casting and catching. 

While shark fishing isn't permitted on the pier, you'll hear tales of past bites from nearby sand.

“I have fished before and caught shark off the shore,” said angler Paul Mobley, “I just throw them back. We fish at about 1 a.m. when people aren't really swimming. Just the fight of it. They fight good, like any fish.”

FWC is now looking to reel in opinions on that type of shore-based shark fishing, done at beaches, bridges or piers, and often at night.

“The goal is to look at what people do currently when it comes to shore-based shark fishing,” said Amanda Nalley, FWC Spokesperson. “If we were to look at any changes in the future, what changes would people maybe want to see for that fishery? What are the concerns for the people that don’t fish?”

Some of FWC’s options include:

-requiring a permit for shore-based shark fishing

-regulating where and when it can take place

-limiting or prohibiting chumming from shore

-requiring use of specific gear

The goals are to maximize the survival of released sharks and minimize conflicts between the shark fishing and non-shark fishing public.

“If other people aren't around, it should be fine,” Mobley said. “But if other people are in the water, obviously, you should never do it when there are other people in the water, especially, the chumming part.”

Victoria Christi, owner of N-V Us Bath & Body, who sells soaps on the pier (even one specifically for hunters and anglers) thinks a little communication from all angles will go a long way.

“If we are going to be doing something an activity that some deem dangerous and other people don't, there is definitely a conversation here,” Christi said. “We are dealing with wildlife here. They don’t follow rules. They do what mother nature tells them to do.”

Here's your chance to chime in. The next scheduled FWC workshop is Wednesday night at 6 at the State College of Florida in Bradenton. It'll be held in the Library and Learning Center - Together Manatee Community Room at 5840 26th Street West.

For more information and submit your comments online at: http://myfwc.Com/fishing/saltwater/rulemaking/workshops/

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