It’s recreational shark anglers versus swimmers in Boca Raton, Florida as the city council mulls a ban on shark fishing from city beaches.
From this story in the Palm Beach Post:
Both swimmers and sharks could be safer in Boca Raton if the City Council decides Tuesday to ban shark fishing from the city’s beaches. Several residents requested a shark fishing ban in Boca Raton because they were concerned about the safety of swimmers and surfers, said assistant city manager Mike Woika. “The main concern here is safety,” he said. “It’s just trying to protect the recreational uses of the beach.” Sharks typically avoid people whether or not anglers are present, said Lee Schlesinger, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “People have been fishing off of beaches in Florida as long as they’ve been swimming off of them, and the amount of issues with sharks is miniscule,” he said. The proposed ordinance would ban chumming and using shark lures, hooks or rigs within 100 feet of the shoreline, and it would require that sharks caught accidentally be cut loose.
Local anglers, however, don’t see it as a safety issue…
_Ordinances like the one proposed in Boca Raton are squeezing shark fishermen out of beach communities, said William Fundora, president of the South Florida Shark Club. “These rules are really antiquated, and they really don’t look at the science,” he said. “Sharks follow migratory schools of fish up and down the shore, and we just catch what’s already there.” Land-based anglers are banding together to oppose the bans, one of which is in Delray Beach, Fundora said. Boca Raton’s ordinance would still allow anglers to fish for sharks 100 feet away from the shore, Woika said. “Laws like these put us at a complete disadvantage,” Fundora said. “We’re not guys who can afford to buy big boats and go to the Bahamas, we’re just regular local people who love to fish
Your thoughts? Is shark fishing on a public beach a bad idea or no big deal?