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Young girl bitten by shark two years ago gets back in the ocean for the first time

Violet Jalil
Posted at 11:11 PM, Jul 17, 2019

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A beach trip nearly two years in the making finally happened Wednesday afternoon for a local girl.

Five-year-old Violet Jalil was bitten by a shark at Bathtub Beach in Martin County two summers ago when she was only 3 years old.

This summer, she and her mother are conquering their nerves from that attack and getting Violet back in the water.

Jessica Veatch, Violet’s mother, admits she was more scared than Violet.

But, new shore-based shark fishing laws approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this month made her feel safer.

Violet said she was excited to get back in the water, and hopefully see some sea life.

“A sea horse and turtle and a dolphin,” she hoped.

She has visited the beach since the shark bite, without getting in the water. But, that previous visit made Veatch more nervous about her daughter getting in the water.

“There were two men that showed up fishing and we asked what they were fishing for and they said sharks,” Veatch said.

New shore-based shark fishing laws include more education, permits, gear restrictions and voluntary distance requirements by fishermen from swimmers.

Veatch says she was proud to be a part of pushing for some of those new rules and getting back to the ocean.

“It’s kinda like ripping a Band-Aid off," said Veatch. "It's all done, and now we can come back to the beach as a family because we have so many memories here."

After their beach day, they went to the FWC Commission meeting with a message.

“Thank you for making the beaches safer for other kids like me,” Violet said.

Veatch told commissioners if she still sees shore-based shark fishermen not voluntarily keeping a distance from swimmers, she will push for distance requirements from FWC in the future.