MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Starting July 1, several new rules will go into effect for shore-based shark fishing in Florida.
FWC will be requiring the following new rules and regulations surrounding education, permitting and equipment.
If you are older than 16 and plan to target or keep sharks caught from shore, including structures attached to shore such as jetties, bridges, and piers, you are required to pass an online educational course.
The permit is also required if you are 16 and older and plan to fish from shore for any species of fish and will be:
• Fishing with a metal leader more than 4 feet long,
• Using a fighting belt/harness, or
• Deploying bait by any means other than casting (kayaking for example) while using a hook that is 1 ½ inch or larger at the widest inside distance.
There are also new regulations for gear. Starting July 1, non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks are required when targeting or harvesting sharks when using live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel).
You will also be required to have a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks is required (when fishing from shore or a vessel).
Chumming is also banned when fishing for any species from the beach.
These new rules come as good news to Jessica Veatch, who has been fighting for stronger shore-based shark fishing regulations.
Her daughter was bitten by a shark almost two years ago.
“It was a miracle she didn’t have to have any additional surgeries,” said Veatch.
Veatch has taken the new online course and said she is also pleased it tells fishermen to be considerate of swimmers.
“The fishermen should voluntarily make sure they are not fishing with swimmers in the water and not fish at popular swimming beaches,” Veatch explained.
While the state did not create rules for how far someone should shark fish from guarded beaches, counties have made their own rules, including Martin County which requires shore-based shark fisherman to be 1,000 yards from guarded beaches.
This makes her feel safer bringing her daughter to the beach in the future.
“They made steps in the right direction, like, this is huge,” Veatch said.