Posted by: reefrescue | June 17, 2011

Help Protect Florida’s Hammerhead and Tiger Sharks

Written by Shark Savers   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 08:51

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission proposes additional
species for the prohibited species list.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is holding public workshops about increasing protections for Florida sharks. All Floridians who care about our oceans: please join to provide public comment to add Hammerheads and Tigers to Florida’s protected list of species We have prepared a talking points guideline for you. Click FWC Workshop 2011 Talking Points.pdf to download it.

Can you attend any of these Workshops? Please contact Shark Savers at savefloridasharks@sharksavers.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  We will connect you with Shark Savers staff and members planning to attend the Workshop and answer any questions you might have.

Details

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is holding public workshops to solicit public comment on possible changes to the Commission’s current shark rule (Chapter 68B-44, F.A.C.). Specifically, they will be gathering public comments on the possible addition of several species of sharks to the list of species that are prohibited from harvest. The Commission will also be gathering comments on possible gear requirement changes and regulatory changes that could affect the practice of chumming when fishing for sharks from shore.

Objective

1.  Add Large Coastal Shark species to the Prohibited Species List.

  • Hammerhead Sharks (Great, Scalloped and Smooth)
  • Tiger Sharks

2.  Require circle hooks for shark fishing – commercial and recreational. This rule will greatly improve post-release survival with catch and release sport fishing and unintended commercial catches.

Who should attend the FWC Workshops?

All Floridians who care about our oceans! The FWC Commissioners will want to know howFloridaresidents and visitors feel about this issue. Input from scientists, divers, fishermen, and anyone who has information, whether scientific data or personal observations, on the declines in populations of sharks and their value toFlorida, will be especially important. If you are passionate about our environment and the protection of hammerhead and tiger sharks, your testimony is also extremely valuable.

Come to the FWC Workshop nearest you!   Come and be a Shark Saver!

Date

Time

Location

 June 20, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm EDT  Brevard Agricultural Center
 3695 Lake Drive
 Cocoa,FL32926
 June 21, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm EDT  IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame
 300 Gulf Stream Way
 Dania Beach,FL33004
 June 22, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm EDT  HarveyGovernmentCenter
 1200 Truman Avenue
 Key West,FL33040
 June 23, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm EDT  TerraceBuilding, Rm 1001
 101 S. Washington Blvd.
 Sarasota,FL34236
 June 28, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm CDT  Destin Community Center
 101 Stahlman Avenue
 Destin,FL32541
 June 30, 2011  6:00 pm-8:00 pm EDT  St. Johns County Auditorium
 4020 Lewis Speedway
 St. Augustine,FL32095

What if I can’t make it to one of the Workshops?

PHONE LINE COMMENTS 

The FWC Commission is also holding a phone conference to gather public comments:

July 7, 2011 – 6:00-8:00 p.m. EDT (5:00-7:00 p.m. CDT)

The public may access this workshop via voice-only line. Please RSVP at 850-487-0554 to obtain instructions to join the phone-in meeting.

EMAIL COMENTS

You can also send written comments to: Commissioners@MyFWC.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Scientific and observational data to: Aaron.Podey@MyFWC.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please copy your emailed comments to us at savefloridasharks@sharksavers.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MAIL-IN COMMENTS

Kathleen Hampton
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission620 South Meridian StreetTallahassee,FL32399-1600

Why protectFlorida’s sharks?

Florida’s waters provide important habitats for sharks. Therefore,Floridais in a unique position to make a significant contribution to the health of shark populations, not just inFlorida, but along the entire U.S. East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and theCaribbean.

ECOSYSTEM: Healthy shark populations help ensure healthy marine ecosystems.

ECONOMY: Tourism and water-related industries, including boating, fishing and diving, are vital toFlorida’s economy. Protecting our marine ecosystems by protecting sharks helps ensure the future prosperity of these industries.

HUMAN HEALTH: Large sharks contain unsafe levels of mercury and other toxins. The continued harvest or recreational catch of large sharks supports the unhealthy consumption of shark meat. Note: The Florida Department of Health advises NO ONE eat shark meat from any animal over 43 inches in length. See page 31 of Your Guide to Eating Fish Caught in Florida.

GLOBAL DECLINES: Worldwide sharks are under enormous commercial fishing pressure mainly due to the demand for shark fin soup. ~73 million sharks per year are caught and killed for consumption and shark products.

  • Great Hammerhead Shark: IUCN Status = Endangered worldwide with a “decreasing” population trend and “Very High Risk of Extinction.” Regionally, endangered in the Northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and critically endangered in theEastern Atlantic.
  • Scalloped Hammerhead Shark: IUCN Status = Endangered worldwide.
  • Smooth Hammerhead Shark: IUCN Status = Vulnerable worldwide with a “High Risk of Extinction.”
  • Tiger Shark: IUCN Status = Near Threatened meaning the species has been evaluated against scientific criteria but insufficient data contributes to unknown population trends; Threatened status is likely in the near future.

When will a decision be made?

Based on input received, FWC Analysts will prepare a recommendation to the FWC Commissioners. This recommendation will be presented at the next schedule Commission meeting, which will be held in NaplesSeptember 7 – 9th. There will be additional opportunity for stakeholder and public testimony at this Commission meeting. The Commissioners may decide to vote on the shark proposals at this meeting, but more likely the vote will be scheduled for the November 16 – 17th Commission meeting inKey Largo.

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Responses

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