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Venice ban on shark fishing will be coming

New state rules restricting shore-based shark fishing go into effect July 1. Not long after that the Venice City Council will consider an ordinance banning it from city beaches and the Venice Municipal Pier.

The Venice City Council had discussed shark fishing several times previously without authorizing City Attorney Kelly Fernandez to draft an ordinance of any kind.

She had, however, advised that the city has the authority under state law to impose stiffer regulations than the state has — including a ban — in the interest of public health and safety.

The Council had shied away from doing that in the face of opposition from local anglers but revisited the topic yet again as part of an effort to have new city rules in place when the pier reopens after reconstruction, in August.

Those rules make a ban the appropriate action, according to Mayor John Holic.

They include a requirement that if a prohibited shark species is caught, it remain in the water and be immediately released. That means someone catching a shark at the far end of the pier, which is considered an extension of the shore, would have to walk all the way off it and down onto the beach to cut the fish loose.

“I don’t see any way to fish [for sharks] off the pier,” he said.

Council Member Chuck Newsom suggested including a buffer area around the pier. Council Member Bob Daniels extended it to no shark fishing from the beach or the pier.

“We’re waiting for an accident to happen,” Daniels said.

Fernandez said the ban needs to be imposed by ordinance so it will be enforceable with penalties. With only one meeting left before the Council’s summer break, the earliest an ordinance could go to second reading would be Aug. 27.

You can view the video of the meeting at Veni