FWC will vote on new land-based shark fishing rules

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Man catches a shark. (WINK News photo)
Man catches a shark. (WINK News photo)

A government agency will hold a vote on new rules to protect sharks and beachgoers. If implemented, it will change how fishers catch these marine animals.

Reeling in a shark, straight from the shoreline is a magical moment that some want to capture.

“Just for that picture session and just to show everybody,” said Bruce Fulkerson, a fisher. “I don’t go for that.”

Shark caught on-shore. (WINK News photo)
Shark caught on-shore. (WINK News photo)

Like a shark in photos off Sanibel, Fulkerson, from Fort Myers, said the sharks he catches are kept in the water.

He agrees with the new rules calling for a crack-down on land-based shark fishing, stopping fishers from being able to haul sharks on-shore.

“The fish is just going to have a lot of trauma when it does that and the gills definitely should stay down,” Fulkerson said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also considering banning chumming on our beaches to protect sharks and even swimmers. But fishermen, like Thomas Berlin, said the restrictions would not make catching sharks on the beaches less dangerous.

“If you know the amount of sharks that are out there on Fort Myers Beach,” Berlin said, “I mean you probably swim within five feet of them all the time and they’re not doing anything to you.”

Arlen Caglioti, who owns Cattle Dock Bait Co., said he worries the FWC decision would impede future shark fishing customers from returning as frequently. Most of his customers fish for sharks at night away from beachgoers.

“The few cases where there’s [sic] people that get injured by sharks in this area is so small that it wouldn’t need the outlawing of the entire fishing industry in general,” Caglioti said.

For now, fishers will wait and see. There will be a vote on the new rules next Wednesday.

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