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Shark fishing under scrutiny for Venice City Pier

Changes to shark-fishing rules to take effect July 1 have the Venice City Council revisiting whether it’s appropriate from the city’s pier.

Renovation of the structure, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017, began Monday. Access is limited now, with the entire pier to be closed soon. Work will take about 90 days.

“I can’t see opening the pier without having proper regulations in place,” Mayor John Holic said.

The exact language of the new rules the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved in February hasn’t been released yet, but the basics are known.

They include:

  • A mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older. A pier is treated as an extension of the land.
  • Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
  • Requiring the immediate release of a prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore. There are 14 species permitted to be caught but 27 that are prohibited.
  • Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water when caught from shore or from a vessel. Because catch-and-release is difficult from a raised structure, the Commission recommends that it not be allowed from a pier.

The Council discussed shark fishing from the pier in late 2017 after reports about chumming attracting sharks to an area where people were swimming or kayaking.