More Sharks Protected in Florida

Tiger sharks and smooth, great, and scalloped hammerhead sharks will be protected by law from fishing, possession, and sales in Florida state waters from now on. Each of the four sharks declined by fifty percent or more mainly due to overfishing, so enacting legal protection was necessary. Additionally, they use Florida waters for reproduction so fishing for them interferes with their ability to regenerate.

“We are one of the first states to have a prohibition on commercial and recreational shark harvest in state waters. This is an important step in protecting these species,” said a spokesperson from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (Source:

An estimated 800,000 sharks were killed by recreational fisherman in Gulf coast and Atlantic waters between 2004 to 2008.

While the prevailing public perception of sharks is that they are dangerous and need to be eliminated or kept at very low levels, the reverse is actually true. The number of sharks attacks on humans worldwide is extremely small and as the top predators in their habitats, if they are removed the whole ecosystem can become unbalanced.

The fishing industry depends on balanced marine ecosystems to stay in business. For example, “A study in North Carolina showed that the loss of the great sharks increased the ray  populations below them. As a result, the hungry rays ate all the bay scallops, forcing the fishery to close. Without scallops to eat, the rays have moved on to other bivalves.

The decline of the quahog, a key ingredient in clam chowder, is forcing many restaurants to remove this American classic from their menus. The disappearance of scallops and clams demonstrates that the elimination of sharks can cause harm to the economy in addition to ecosystems.” (Source:

Another study in the Bahamas showed one reef shark can be worth $250,000 due to the ecotourism associated with it. To a fisherman the same shark might be worth just $50.

Image Credit: Josh Hallett/Wiki Commons


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Kayleigh Harter
Kayleigh Harter2 years ago

Sharks are keystone predators--we've known this for years, yet very little has been done to protect them. I'm glad at least some policymakers are starting to see the light.

It seems these protections are working--I read somewhere recently that shark populations in Florida waters were quite high this past winter.

Aud Nordby
Aud nordby2 years ago


Tamara Vukovic
Tamara Vukovic3 years ago


Riccardo Pelizzo
3 years ago

glad to know some sharks are protected

Dawn F.
Dawn F.3 years ago

Great! Good news.

Kenneth D.
Kenneth Davies3 years ago

Good news. Proves we do not know it all and have a duty of care

Annemarie W.
Annemarie L.4 years ago

yes, this is great!

Mem H.
Mem T.4 years ago

yay! terrific news! let's hope everywhere else follows suit! stop finning and overhunting sharks! they are very important and crucial parts of the ecosystem of the sea!

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege4 years ago

Thank you! Wonderful news. I hope it works without delay!

Shell S.
Shelli S.4 years ago

Good! We must do what ever we can, to save the sharks!