Sea Isle City has ended its short-lived ban on shark fishing in the surf, with a few caveats.
According to Sea Isle City Solicitor Paul Baldini, there will be restrictions placed on shark fishing during the busy summer tourism season from May 15 to September 15 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. when surfcasters can only fish by rod and reel; prohibited will be the use of “extraordinary measures” such as drones or kayaks.
The city imposed a complete ban on shark fishing off its beaches last August following complaints that drones and other questionable methods were being used to assist in shark fishing. “It never came to a head with any issues until the drones,” City Business Administrator George Savastano told the Sea Isle News. Under the ban, all shark fishing had been prohibited on or near the beaches and within 600 feet of Sea Isle’s shoreline. Violators risked fines as high as $1,250 in municipal court when the ban was in effect.
According to Sea Isle News reporter Donald Wittkowski, the prohibition included shore-based shark fishing by chumming or blood-baiting, the use of unmanned drones or with the assistance of kayaks or any other water vessel. City Council President Mary Tighe was quoted as saying she had no objections about surf fishing, but called it “cheating” when anglers use chum or drones to try to catch sharks.
Amid fears that the use of drones or blood-baiting could lure aggressive sharks close to the beach near swimmers or surfers, the city responded with the ban in August. Later, city officials set up a series of meetings with surfing and fishing representatives to work out a compromise. In a statement, Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio said the meetings with surfing and fishing representatives were a “great example of how folks with different interests were able to recognize and respect each other’s point of view, and ultimately come to agreement on a solution.”
“We will be implementing beach regulations that continue to provide opportunities for surf fishing on designated beaches during the day, which are mindful and respectful of the bathing and surfing public. There will also be the ability to fish in the evening, nighttime, and early morning hours,” Desiderio told Sea Isle News.
During the summer season, there are designated beaches for swimming, surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding and fishing which are listed at sicbp.com/BeachInfo.