Bonita City Council to sink teeth into shark fishing

— Seeing fisherman chumming for shark on a public beach makes one Bonita Springs resident "crazy."

Diane Frazine is tired of seeing this potentially dangerous activity outside her home at Bonita Beach Club. She says sharks and beachgoers aren't a good mix.

Now she is asking Bonita City Council to regulate shark fishing on Bonita Beach.

"One would think they would want to keep the waters safe for swimming!" Frazine said in an email referring to shark fishing and keeping tourists coming to the area.

Discussion of rules and regulations regarding shark fishing in Bonita Springs is on Wednesday's City Council agenda. The city currently doesn't have any shark fishing regulations.

They are expected to use other towns and cities who regulated shark fishing as models. Sanibel Island doesn't allow chumming within 1/2 mile from any beach. Chumming is baiting the waters with raw meats and fish parts, including blood and oils. Chumming attracts predator fish such as sharks.

Fort Myers Beach doesn't allow fishing within 200 feet from "swimming areas." The city of Naples doesn't allow shark fishing at the Naples Municipal Pier.

"If you hook a shark accidentally, you are not allowed to bring it up to the pier," said Roger Jacobsen, Naples code and harbor manager.

The restriction of shark fishing on the Naples Pier is in the city's code ordinance. Moreover, the city of Naples follows Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rules and regulations for all fishing.

The Florida Constitution established the FWC, which pre-empts local governments from regulating certain aspects of wildlife by stating there should be no special law or general law of local application pertaining to hunting or fishing, with exception to fishing on its own property, according to city documents.

Alternatively, the city could petition the FWC to regulate chumming because it creates a nuisance on islands where there is predominantly human activity, according to city documents.

A Bonita Springs bait and tackle shop owner is against any shark fishing regulations.

Ken Strasen, owner of Master Bait and Tackle on Bonita Beach Road, said any ban on chumming or shark fishing isn't going to stop the sharks from mixing with swimmers.

"If people knew how many are out there, they wouldn't get in the water," Strasen said.

Shark fishing in Bonita Springs is typically at night from April through September and occasionally October and November if the water is still warm, Strasen said.

When the conditions are favorable, shark gear represents between 15 to 20 percent of Master Bait and Tackle sales, Strasen said.

The most common sharks caught in Bonita Springs are the bonnethead shark, spinner shark, blacktip shark, bull shark, lemon shark and nurse shark. The range of sharks fished according to world records is from a 23-pound bonnethead shark to a 1,780-pound tiger shark, Strasen said.

Hook and line are the only allowable gear for fishing sharks and the use of natural bait when using multiple hooks is prohibited. There is a minimum size of 54 inches for all sharks and maximum of one shark per harvester per day or two per vessel, whichever is less, according to the Florida Administrative code.

Bonita Springs City Council meets at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at City Hall, 9101 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs.

Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features