islander says:

Endangered species: American fisherman

I read with great interest the latest article regarding shark fishing. It reminded me of a debate I had with William Mote some years ago, when he wanted me to capture live sharks for his aquarium on City Island. He said a fisherman such as myself, who enjoyed fishing (and often killing sharks), was in direct conflict with those at Mote who believed in protecting animals.

Which is why he said: “ It is necessary to re-educate a new generation about protecting shark species. This also is why at Mote we work hand-in-hand with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, to enact good, sound conservation policies.”

This is one reason why Florida’ s Commercial Fishing Industry is nearly dead — 85 percent of seafood consumed here is imported.

Jobs are lost and the charter boat fishermen are being choked economically — gag grouper and other fishing restrictions closing seasons during peak tourism, with more jobs lost.

And telling local outdoorsmen they can’ t fish from a beach or a pier! This is what happens when eco-extremists, propped up by a government agency, at taxpayers’ expense can push bad science — speculative fish stocks — in the name of conservation. Anyone really concerned with conservation should read “ Embracing the Earth’ s Wild Resources” by Eugene Lapointe, an IWMC World Conservation Trust publication.

Your article states, “ The FWC does not have extensive shark research facilities, so expert advice on sharks comes from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, which has a shark research facility.”

I find it humorous that concerns from a few — I must assume, animal rights activists — would contact Anna Maria Mayor Selby about prohibiting shark fishing anywhere on the island. People who don’ t know how to fish are telling those who do what’ s best for all.

And why would the city commission find director of shark research
at Mote Bob Hueter’ s input relevant. This is the same protectionist who claims, “ Sharks are near extinction and their numbers have dropped 50 percent.” Then contradicts himself by saying in the same publication, “ Quantifying the exact shark number is not possible.” (The Daily News, Oct. 24). He now claims in your publication, “ Florida waters abound with sharks and anyone entering the water is probably within a mile or two of them.”

Which is it, Bobbie?

Any serious shark fisherman knows sharks feed at night. Best time — full moon and an outgoing tide. Anyone who wants to swim during these conditions is asking to become shark bait. It’ s my hope that when Gov. Rick Scott receives a true assessment of shark stocks from my fishermen’ s legal catch totals, photo documentation and DNA samples from my Predator Roundup Tournament, along with the National Fishing Alliance’ s reports of real industry data, some heads will roll at FWC.

We need to stop wasting tax dollars on the FWC which implements these restrictions based on biased opinions of eco-extremists. As to any attempt to regulate shark fishing on Anna Maria Island, the Florida statutes state: The beach below the mean high-waterline is owned by the state. This renders any bans on beach shark fishing unconstitutional! On Feb. 2, the Boca Raton Marine Advisory Board voted unanimously to reject an ordinance banning shark fishing. Common sense prevailed.

Forty years ago, I stepped out my back door and saw an America that was land of the free and home of the brave. Today, I step out the same door and see an America that is the land of the lobbyist (Peta, Pew, etc.) and home of the special interests (non-governmental organizations raising money)

If Anna Maria Island City Commission attempts any anti-shark fishing ordinance, I will sue. As an outdoorsman, I will fight to protect my rights.

Capt. Bill Goldschmitt, Sarasota

Press Links


Lots of older print articles here.

And this article in Onshore-Offshore Magazine: