Removing prohibited sharks from the water will no longer be permitted, whether fishing from the shore or a vessel.
Following its February meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released a statement explaining its new, approved changes to the current shark fishing regulations.
The changes addressed shark management, shore-based shark fishing and other minor changes, all of which aim to improve the survival rate of released sharks.
Effective July 1, 2019, all shore-based shark fishermen age 16 or older will be required to obtain a no-cost annual shore-based shark fishing permit. This includes anglers over 65, who were previously exempt from fishing license requirements. Anglers under 16 will be required to take a class unless they're fishing with an adult who has a permit.
In terms of fishing methods, shark fishermen--shore-based or vessel-based--will also be required to possess a device that can quickly cut a leader or hook, and they must use non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks when using live or dead natural bait.
Shore-based anglers must immediately release prohibited shark species without ever taking them from the water. To prevent delaying the release of the fish, anglers must promptly cut the leader, line or hook.
Taking a protected shark out of the water from a vessel is also prohibited.
"Survival of the released shark is important (and) the rule would require the immediate release of all prohibited sharks when caught from shore," Jessica McCawley, who gave a presentation on the rules at the meeting, told The News-Press. "The goal would be to keep the head in enough water to ensure water goes over the gills."
There are 26 protected shark species, which include some of the more popular names like the lemon shark, the tiger shark, the white shark and the hammerhead shark.
Additionally, chumming is prohibited when fishing from the beach, regardless of the species of fish you're targeting.
For more informations on the new regulations, visit the FWC's website here.
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