In a recent incident on the pier in Bay County, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission [FWC] officers Alsobrooks, Gore, and Lieutenant Allen responded to a complaint regarding shark fishing. Thanks to modern technology, Officer Alsobrooks was able to identify two individuals involved in violations from a video provided by a witness; further fisheries inspections revealed a disturbing discovery — multiple sharks with their fins removed.
According to a weekly report from the FWC for April 28 through May 4, the two individuals were found to be in possession of six sharks, three of which were considered to be undersized and with their fins removed.
Such practices are not only illegal, but harmful to the delicate ecosystem and conservation efforts surrounding marine life. Florida state law was among the first to ban shark finning in 1992. The federal law was not far behind though, requiring sharks to be brought to land whole in 2000 as a part of the Shark Finning Prohibition Act.
One of the individuals was charged with exceeding the bag limit of 1 shark in possession per person, per day in the state of Florida. The second individual faced multiple charges, including exceeding the bag limit, possession of undersized spinner sharks, and possessing sharks that were not in whole condition. Bag limits are set to ensure sustainable fishing practices and protect vulnerable species.
These charges highlight the seriousness of the offenses committed, as well as the importance of enforcing fishing regulations to safeguard marine life.
Shark populations are already under significant pressure due to a variety of factors, including overfishing, habitat loss, and climate change. Authorities and individuals must work together to preserve these creatures of the deep and maintain the eco-diversity of our oceans.
The actions taken by Officers Alsobrooks, Gore, and Lieutenant Allen demonstrate a dedication to upholding environmental laws and protecting marine resources. Their prompt response to the complaint and subsequent enforcement measures serve as a reminder for all individuals engaged in fishing activities to abide by regulations and to act responsibly.
Article by Rachael Volpe