Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tiger and Hammerhead Protections Advance in Florida

Just recieved word that proposed protections for tiger and hammerhead sharks in Florida state waters have advanced. From this weekend's Florida Keys Keynoter:
(T)he Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission board on Thursday will hear staff proposals on protecting sharks.

Tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks (great, smooth and scalloped) all should be added to Florida's no-take list, which now includes 22 shark species, says the recommended action.

Tiger shark "research in the Florida Keys indicates there may have been a significant decline in their numbers there, where they were once considered abundant," an agency report notes.

National studies suggest tiger shark populations have dropped significantly, by up to 97 percent in some locations.

The Asian appetite for shark-fin soup has led to increased mortality on big sharks, which are slow to reach sexual maturity and do not breed in large numbers. As a result, shark populations "can take decades to recover once they become depleted," scientists reported.

A series of seven statewide workshops on sharks, including one in Key West, found widespread support for adding the four shark species to the protected list, staff said.

Two other shark proposals -- to require use of circle hooks in shark fishing, and to ban chumming from shore -- did not get endorsed by FWC staff.
It has been a busy week for shark conservation, with California, Tokelau and now Florida moving protections. Thank you for your continued support in all these initiatives.

Congrats, Florida!

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