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FWC approves new shark fishing restrictions

Posted: 10:24 PM, Feb 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-01 17:46:24Z
New rules protecting sharks to take effect

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved new restrictions on "chumming" for sharks.

Effective July 1st , residents and visitors will no longer be able to chum for sharks or any other species form the beach. Chumming is when anglers drop fish carcasses and blood into the water to attract sharks.

"If I were 19 years old again, I wouldn't want that opportunity ripped away from me," said charter captain Billy Norris.

Norris says chumming is way for people to get close to one of nature's most feared predators.

"That's something I enjoyed doing growing up, I never had a shark die on me."

Norris says a few bad actors spoiled the activity for people who appreciate the animals.

"I was out there the other day, and I couldn't get through the sharks, there were too many sharks."

However, conservationists say this is exactly what the state needs to do to protect sharks from over fishing, and harvesting their fins.

Film maker and conservationist Lawrence Curtis says shark fins can sell for as much as 300 dollars.

"When sharks and people get together, it's the sharks that lose. There's more people that die from refrigerators or vending machines than they do shark bites."

Chumming is still allowed from boats, most species of sharks are catch and release in Florida, a shore based shark fishing permit will also be required under the rules.