NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A video of two men dragging a shark across the New Smyrna Beach shore and stabbing it in the head surfaced Saturday, leaving many social media users stunned and questioning the legality of the practice.
“You should not be doing that with animals,” said the woman in the video shared on Twitter. “Please do not do anything to it... Why are you doing that?”
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One of the men who captured the shark responded that it was “a legal harvest” and “natural”.
“I’m taking it to eat and feed my family,” the other man said.
So, News 6 reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about the video to ask the question dividing viewers: Is harvesting a shark from the shore legal?
“It is common practice for anglers to euthanize sharks after landing for ethical and safety concerns. This video is not currently under investigation as no violation of state law regarding the method of harvest occurred,” FWC officials said in a statement.
Due to the fact that the two men featured in the video above are not facing charges, News 6 has blurred their faces.
Agency officials also provided a list of harvestable and prohibited sharks, but specified any individual planning to target or keep sharks caught from shore are required to pass a Shark-Smart Fishing educational course to obtain a Shore-based Shark Fishing permit.
The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers 16 or older, including those normally exempt from needing a fishing license. Wildlife officials added those with a permit are limited to bagging one shark per person per day.
News 6 has reached out to FWC to confirm whether the two men featured in the video obtained a Shore-based Shark Fishing permit, though the agency has not yet replied.
The FWC website also encourages releasing sharks and highlights the importance of shark survival, as the apex predators help maintain the marine ecosystem.
FWC encourages anyone with additional information about the shark stabbing incident to contact the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
For more information about shark regulations, click here. To learn more about FWC’s general handling guidelines, visit the Florida Department of State website.
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