Fishermen reel in sharks during migration, bring catches onto beach near crowds

Authorities: Catching sharks on beach not illegal

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Shark fears were brought to a new level on Friday when a local fisherman attempted to hook in the most fierce predator of the ocean right on crowded beach.

No one was allowed in the water at Midtown Beach in Palm Beach on Friday due to the shark migration.
 
But if someone wanted to pull in a shark and bring it ashore, police and lifeguards said there was nothing stopping them.

"All you have to do is look at the aerial footage every year during this time of year and you'll see the sharks are always in 20-to-30 yards off the beach," said Joshua Jorgensen, a fisherman.

Jorgensen and others wanted to bring jaws even closer to shore. A group descended upon the area with bait, hooks and reel hoping to snag a big one.

"Well they're here anyway you know. So it's not like we're attracting them," said Tom Kieras, a fisherman.

As the men reeled in two blacktip sharks, crowds of people on the beach swarmed the area.

"They just don't realize that there's danger there. You could get bit. A wave could come up, push the shark, you know lunge around and could bite you," said Jeremy Stanley, a lifeguard at Midtown Beach.

Stanley said what is a photo opportunity for beach-goers, could turn into his worst nightmare. Thankfully, Stanley said the catches were safe and furthermore it was for research that could help cure shark bites.

"Some people got opinions and they can have their opinions. But the law is the law. And the law says we're allowed to be here," said Jorgensen.

The group catching the sharks took swabs of the gums of the sharks. They are trying to get a better grasp of the bacteria inside the mouth of a shark to make better medicine when people are bit by sharks.

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