My name is Tim Martell. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist and founder of "Saving Sanibel's Sharks". Our community action group is calling for a total ban on landing large, breeding stock sharks on Florida piers and beaches. We need your support to help amend law governing shark species management and subsequently prevent the useless slaughter and waste of Florida's large breeding stock sharks. Our group has managed to get a great deal of attention on our cause and we can use all the help we can get. An FWC investigation has been launched into "The Sanibel Slaughter" incident, we have been in contact with our congressman Connie Mack. We have 100 people in only a few days that have expressed a desire to stop these senseless shark slaughters on our public piers and beaches. Please support our push to enhance shark conservation and prevent wasteful slaughters of our large breeding stock sharks in Florida.
FYI - Please take some time to review this proposal submitted to species management officials by the Saving Sanibel's Sharks community action organization.
10 reasons we must ban harvesting of large breeding stock sharks on Florida beaches.
In the interest of public safety, image of our communities, thwarting of negative tourist experiences, cleanliness of our beaches and piers, and preventing the waste of an animal that should have lived, I, Tim Martell, certified Florida Master Naturalist, propose that policy be amended in regards to game control of large breeding size sharks in Florida. It is my intention to persuade our law makers that the taking and slaughter of large breeding size sharks on Florida piers and beaches is not in our best interests both ecologically and economically. It should be noted that this proposal does not call for a ban on fishing for large breeding size sharks. It calls for a ban on landing a large size shark on public piers and beaches. For the following reasons, our environment, community image, safety and economic prosperity will be improved by banning the landing of large sharks on Florida piers and beaches.
1. It’s a safety issue for numerous reasons.
Baiting and chumming around public piers for sharks is happening. It is happening in close proximity to where our tourists swim. When intentional baiting and chumming for large sharks and swimmers are in close proximity, the chances of a negative human/shark encounter go way up. It is not unrealistic to come to the conclusion that intentional baiting for large sharks on Florida beaches and piers puts swimmers and large sharks in closer proximity. In fact, the practice could encourage larger sharks to frequent the area more often due to lingering bait chunks and scent. Fishermen are coming equipped to piers with heavy duty equipment, large gaffs and ropes. When properly done, a shark can be safely handled by an experienced fisherman alongside a boat. However, the same cannot be said for a large shark that is hauled on to shore or especially on a pier. Sharks don’t go easy. They thrash about and bite if they get the chance. They are extremely powerful and are thrashing about within the confines of the pier. This can and eventually will end up in someone getting seriously injured while attempting to land a large shark, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
2. Large sharks are being slaughtered on the piers causing a bloodbath.
When this is viewed by our tourists who visit the pier, it is always met with negative public reaction. People are more conservation minded these days and they understand the need for responsible and ethical management of natural resources. Although it still happens, blatant waste is becoming a thing of the past. People in larger and larger numbers want to make sure that we are managing our natural resources efficiently, and if there are deficiencies, that we expose them and make an amendment that will ensure enhanced conservation and protection. Protection and conservation is the new way of the future and nobody wants to witness a large scale slaughter of anything in a public place. Really, slaughtering a 7 foot shark on a pier is no different than slaughtering an unwanted feral pig in a public park. Yet, if that were to happen, there would be a huge backlash. However, the slaughter of a large shark is still permissible in a public place. Photos have been taken of horrible slaughters on our piers that have been witnessed by dozens and dozens of people. The result is always the same…public outrage, environmental destruction and negative economic impact. People have been enlightened by knowledge and they understand the importance of public safety, preventing waste and protecting our natural resources.
3. The argument that large sharks are a food source has been exhausted.
We all know that large apex predators accumulate concentrated amounts of toxins, chemicals, PCB’s and metals such as mercury. In the interest of public health alone, the meat from a large shark should not be consumed. However, in the unlikely event that it actually is consumed, due to it’s volume, the contaminated shark meat would be distributed since there is “lots to go around”. But let’s be honest with ourselves shall we? A large shark ends up on an ant hill so the jaw can eventually be obtained or it sit’s in someone’s flower bed. The taking of such a large shark practically always ends up in indiscriminate waste. There are plenty of excellent eating fish available that are easy to catch, out there in abundance and low in environmental toxins.
4. There is no value in slaughtering a large, breeding size shark.
Only degradation of our natural environment. When we remove a breeding size shark, we are removing more than just that shark. We are removing future populations of sharks.
5. It produces negative press.
The community action group ’Saving Sanibels Sharks” was formed due to public outrage stemming from a shark slaughter that happened at the lighthouse pier on Sanibel Island.
6. It has negative economic consequences.
Since these incidents can and do create so much negative press, it has an immediate economic impact on the community as potential visitors stumble across grotesque images of a shark slaughter at the local pier and decide to go elsewhere. Again, who really wants to see this kind of thing anymore? It doesn’t have a place in our public areas. It’s just plain bad for business. Who wants to see a slaughter and secondly, it really keeps the tourists from having fun in the water when they see there are large sharks being attracted and slaughtered near where they are swimming.
7. It gives the community a terrible moral image.
Images of a shark slaughter on a public pier gives the impression that this is not a community of values.
8. Sharks keep the ocean clean.
We must acknowledge the fact that sharks are apex predators that help keep our oceans healthy. They are more than predators, they are also scavengers and play a large role in keeping our oceans clean. Sharks remove sick, old, injured, dead, decomposing or diseased fish, birds and even animals. Large breeding sharks must be given special conservation status.
9. Sharks are slow reproducing.
Large breeding sharks are important to both increase and sustain shark populations.
10. Fishing for large sharks should be left to the professionals.
There are plenty of shark fishing charters available and experienced fisherman should be welcome to catch large sharks but only from a boat at a designated distance from shore. There is a proper place and time for everything. A public pier or beach is not the place for a large, breeding size shark slaughter to happen at a time when tourists are swimming in our waters and enjoying our beaches.
Owner: Manatee Guides
Founder: Saving Sanibel’s Sharks