Environment Featured Headline Legislation

DEMA Dive Industry Alert: Florida Fish/Wildlife Commission to Hold Workshops on Shore-based Shark Fishing

As divers we understand that sharks are necessary to maintaining the health of the reefs and oceans.  Divers are excited to encounter living sharks, and many seek opportunities to dive and observe these important creatures. We look forward to interactions with sharks, knowing that many species are at risk.

In July and August the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) will conduct a series of workshops to address a growing concern in Florida; the illegal landing of prohibited species of sharks while fishing from shore.

DEMA strongly urges members of the diving community to participate in one or more of these workshops to voice your concerns over the actions taken by a small group of fishers in the state of Florida, who recklessly endanger protected species of sharks by deliberately targeting, and illegally landing them.

While we know that fishing for some species of sharks is not prohibited in Florida, landing and possessing many of the species that are caught by these various “shore-based shark fishing” groups, is not legal, according to 68B-44.008 Prohibited Species; Prohibition of Harvest, Landing, and Sale of the Florida Salt Water Fishing Regulations.

In April DEMA asked the FWC to consider the need for strong enforcement of established and useful regulations that prohibit the landing of sharks by groups and individuals engaged in shore-based shark fishing activities.  As many of these fishers are using public beaches for their activities, DEMA also strongly suggested the need to include regulations that ban shore-based shark fishing in the vicinity of designated public bathing beaches.  Such a ban already exists for any  spear fishing activities within 100 yards of public bathing beaches, and the scope of this ban should include hook and line fishing as well. This request from DEMA and from others prompted FWC to schedule these workshops.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) is the agency charged with regulating the fishing community.  DEMA encourages all members of the diving community, regardless of geographic location, to attend one of these workshops to provide input and to demand that this activity be stopped.

If you cannot attend these workshops, please consider submitting comments directly to the FWC on this comments page.

For your comments we have provided some suggested text below.  Please contact DEMA at 858-616-6408 or publicpolicy@dema.org with any questions regarding this issue.

Suggested text:

We in the diving community respectfully ask the FWC to consider the need for strong enforcement of established and useful regulations that prohibit the landing of sharks by groups and individuals engaged in shore-based shark fishing activities. 

We further demand that everything within the limits of the law be done to enforce the fishing regulations already designed to protect sharks including punishing these specific individuals by suspending or revoking their Florida fishing privileges. 

As many of these fishers are using public beaches for their activities, we strongly suggest the need to include regulations that ban land-based shark fishing in the vicinity of designated public bathing beaches.  Such a ban already exists for any spear fishing activities within 100 yards of public bathing beaches, and the scope of this ban should include hook and line fishing as well.

DEMA, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, is an international organization with more than 1,300 business members.  The mission of this non-profit, global organization is to bring businesses together to grow the diving industry worldwide.  DEMA owns and produces DEMA Show, an annual trade-only event for businesses in the scuba diving, action watersports and adventure/dive-travel industries.  DEMA Show 2018 will take place November 14-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. For more information on DEMA and affiliated programs contact (800) 862-DIVE (3483) or (858) 616-6408 or visit www.dema.org.  Stay updated by following “DEMAOrg” on Facebook and Twitter.