City Council passes ordinance to ban shark fishing at Venice Fishing Pier and Brohard Beach
VENICE - New shark fishing regulations released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission on July 1st led the City of Venice to decide whether or not fishing for sharks on places like the Venice Fishing Pier aligns with the FWC's code. This led the council to propose an ordinance that would eliminate fishing for sharks near swimmers entirely. The issue has split Venice residents.
"I think it's important to protect the public and protect people. I mean, you're talking about protecting human life versus going out to catch a fish for the fun of going out to catch a fish," ordinance supporter Will Lyons said.
"In the history of shark attack statistics in Florida, there's never been a shark attack in Venice and that's with people fishing from the beaches and from the piers. So there's no real threat to public health or safety," ordinance opponent Rob Merlino said.
Lyons believes fishermen will be just fine if the ordinance is passed.
"No, I don't think there'll be a loss at all. I've been a fisherman in the past. I've done a lot of fishing – salt water and fresh water and most of the time we ate what we caught," Lyons said.
Although Merlino is against the ordinance, he says that it it's passed it will not affect his fishing routine in the slightest.
"For me, personally, it won't change a thing as for what I do. All of my gear is within the limits of the proposed ordinance. I don't necessarily targets sharks but I do catch them and they are out there. Sharks are a opportunistic predator so if I'm fishing for king fish which employs a certain method of putting bait on top of the water and a shark bites it, I'm still required by state law to land that shark according to FWC guidelines," Merlino said.