South Daytona, FL - The future of shore-based shark fishing in Florida is up for debate Monday night (August 20th) in South Daytona.
State wildlife officials will hold a public meeting on that topic at 6 o'clock from the Piggotte Community Center on Big Tree Road just west of U.S. 1.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Amanda Nalley says the agency has heard lots of concerns over the past several years about people specifically trying to catch sharks from piers, jetty, or the beach and the meeting is all about coming up with ideas that FWC can then mold into future policy.
"Our goal is always to try to find balance between what anglers would like to do, what our stakeholder needs are and also what the fishery's needs are," Nalley added.
FWC's main goal is to figure out if any current policies need changing and what those changes need to be.
There are no specific rules and regulations for shore-based shark fishing, but Nalley says one of the agency's hopes for these workshops is to figure out if specific policies are needed for that. Among those policies could be a special permit for those who want to fish for sharks from shore, regulate what kind of gear is used or set up certain days and times to do that.
Anyone who does try to catch sharks onshore does need to abide by all current state rules regarding sharks.
Four such meetings have already been held statewide in Bradenton, Fort Myers, Panama City and Pensacola. Monday's meeting is the only one in the Daytona Beach area, but a similar one will take place the following night in Jacksonville and again on August 27th in Melbourne.
The three other meetings on the schedule are all in the South Florida area and will take place before September.
Once the meetings wrap up, FWC staff plan to present any ideas or policy changes to the FWC Commission during its final meeting of the year in St. Augustine. That takes place December 12th and 13th.