Editor’s Log: Passionate Anglers Speak Up - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Passionate Anglers Speak Up

On August 1st and 3rd the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation hosted online meetings that gave the public a chance to comment of their proposed beach shark fishing regulations that came out earlier this year.

“The targeting and mishandling of protected sharks by recreational shore anglers along New York’s ocean beaches has been increasing,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Sharks are a vital part of the marine ecosystem and play an essential role in regulating the balance of life in the ocean. The proposed rules released today for public comment will further enhance protections for vulnerable shark species and benefit the health of New York’s coastal ocean.”

The proposals are the following:

  • baited J-hooks exceeding a width of 7/8 inches and baited circle hooks exceeding 1 1/8 inches -in width when measured at the widest inside dimension
  • the use of metal fishing leaders attached to baited hooks that exceed 12 inches in length;
  • chumming within 600 feet of the shoreline except with mollusks and crustaceans
  • deploying baited hooks by means other than casting with rod and
  • the use of artificial lures when taking sharks.

According to the DEC these proposed regulation seek to further protect shark species that are currently illegal to take or possess under New York State regulation, referred to as “prohibited” shark species for recreational fishing. A complete list of the existing recreational shark fishing regulations is available on DEC’s website. The proposed regulations were designed to protect these shark species while maintaining recreational opportunities for shore-based anglers targeting legal species.

After initially reading these proposals when they came out, they had me questioning some of them. The restriction to being able to use only smaller hooks as opposed to larger hooks? Sounds like a good way to gut hook a lot of these fish to me. Gear restrictions as well? Anglers can only use spinning rods which in turn will lead to longer fight times, shark exhaustion and less chance of a healthy release and survival. These initial concerns of mine and a few others were addressed by many who spoke up at the meetings — all against the proposed rules — none in favor. From recreational anglers with no affiliation to any organizations to scientists to even a young angler of nine years of age, these people all voiced their concerns and were unanimously on the same page about this. None of those who advised the DEC to these proposals spoke up as to why these suggests were made — I listened in to the entire meeting.

I applaud those who did speak during the meeting. This was a passionate and motivated group of people who all were on the same page, explained why the proposed regulations would not work and followed up with valid solutions that included beach shark fishing instructional courses, like those taught in Florida among other solutions.

Some even raised the question of why these proposals were being made. No scientific data had been presented as to why these actions are being taken. Maybe mass media shark hysteria (News 12) is starting to influence those who make the rules rather than the actual scientific facts about what is best for successful and healthy angling within this fishery.


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