Editor’s Log: Proposed Shorebound Shark Regulations - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: Proposed Shorebound Shark Regulations

It’s no secret that there has been an increase in participation in shorebound shark fishing over the past several years. Once regarded as almost a “secret” summertime activity for those who targeted stripers during the spring and fall, shorebound sharking was done by a smaller group of anglers every summer to pass the “dog days” until stripers made their return migration.

Unfortunately, social media didn’t help the case of this quiet fishery and before long, many anglers were targeting these fish throughout the summer along the South Shore sand beaches. Inevitably, with more participating, the more interest was drawn to it and we all knew it was coming — the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) began the stages of cracking down on this activity on June 1st with their press release regarding the subject.

“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.”

Two of the main fish that have been caught as a direct result of this activity are brown and sand tiger sharks — both of which are on the “prohibited” list of sharks to target. Of course, species like black tips and spinners are not on the list and are fair game and I’ve personally witnessed an increased number of these species along our shores. A couple of my surf angling friends have even hooked and landed blacktips on topwater poppers within the last few seasons.

The DEC is proposing special gear restrictions for recreational shore anglers to follow when fishing the beaches to try and cut down on this. They 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 reel; and
  • The use of artificial lures when taking sharks.

Also, according to the DEC, “In addition, this rulemaking seeks to improve shark handling and release practices for all shore- and vessel-based anglers. The proposed rules clarify requirement to immediately release all prohibited shark species and prohibits the removal from the water of any shark that will be released. The rulemaking also requires recreational anglers fishing for sharks to possess a device capable of cutting the leader or hook to remove fishing gear immediately without unnecessary harm, as well as requiring anglers to take every precaution to ensure the maximum probability of survival of any shark that will be released.”

DEC will hold a virtual public hearing to accept public comment on Tuesday, August 1, at 6 p.m. Information on how to participate in the hearing can be found at DEC’s website.

You can also write in written comments to the DEC on the proposed rulemaking through 5 p.m. August 7. Written comments can be submitted by email to [email protected] with the subject line: “Proposed Part 40 – Sharks” or by mail to the NYSDEC – Division of Marine Resources, 123 Kings Park Blvd., Kings Park, NY 11754, ATTN: Christopher Scott.

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