Commissioners of Delray beach Florida banned shore-based shark fishing within 300 feet of the Atlantic dunes and within 300 feet of the public beach Tuesday night. The two main reasons for this ordnance are to protect swimmers from sharks that may have been baited to the shallow waters they normally do not habitat and to protect the sharks themselves. There have been multiple occasions in 2014 where protected hammer heads have been caught and drug on the beach for photographs. The protected species is extremely susceptible to delayed mortality and the chances of survival after hours of fight time is minimal. I
In 2009 the commission had banned shore-based shark fishing along the entire stretch of beach. However the ban was challenged by a Boca Raton lawyer Blaine Dickenson who represented the Shorebound Anglers Alliance Inc. The group threatened to sue if the city kept the ban in place, stating it was the responsibility of Florida’s game conservation to make such laws. However Commissioners can make laws to make sure swimming areas are safe and thus the new ordnance was made.
“Public safety is the No. 1 issue,” Mayor Cary Glickstein told CBS 12 “The fact that we haven’t had a shark attack here in Delray is good news.” He went on to add “We are providing areas where responsible fisherman can do what they want to do just far away from the people using our beaches.”
Some fisherman did not like the ban. Zach Miller was quoted in the above article saying “You tried to pass the ban. It was deemed unconstitutional,” “There’s never been any statistical proof anywhere to prove that shark attacks happen when shark fishing occurs.” He and a group of 24 people came to voice their opinions. He added “This has been happening for 70 years here,” “There’s no threat. There’s never been a threat. It has become a media frenzy from sharks in the headlines.”
He is correct about more stories being seen in the news. However the exposure has been good for sharks as protection like the one Delray has passed will help protect sharks. The biggest issue with shark fishing is the possible death of the catch. There is no way to know what type of fish is on the line until the catch has been hauled in. This leads to long fight times and tired fish. I do believe most fisherman mean no harm to the catch, however it is impossible to not stress the fish out while trying to reel it in.
I am sure people have been shark fishing from the beaches for years. It could just be that big sharks have always been caught and its just now coming to light due to social media. However it could also be the change in techniques. I understand some fisherman will paddle bait into deeper waters using kayaks. They leave the bait and head back to shore to wait for a bite. Deeper water means bigger sharks.
I support the rights of outdoors men and women, but I do see a problem when a protected species is caught. Even though it may be an accident, some sharks are paying the price. Earlier this year a 12 ft pregnant female hammerhead was caught and bitten by another shark. The anglers released the pups, however the mother died.