Shark beaten with hammer pushes Florida city to tighten fishing rules

Proposed ordinance would expand new fishing area, create citation process for rule breakers

INDIAN HARBOUR BEACH, Fla. – The city of Indian Harbour Beach city council will discuss stricter fishing rules after a man was seen beating a shark to death with a hammer.

City officials are meeting Jan. 25 and will consider the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would expand the new fishing area, ban the cleaning of fish and other wildlife, and create a citation process for rule breakers.

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The ordinance comes after video last month showed a man beating a shark over the head with a hammer after reeling the shark in. The man then puts the shark back in the water.

Video shows a man beating a shark over the head with a hammer on a Florida beach, prompting an investigation by wildlife officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said at the time that it was investigating the incident and knew who the man was. However, the city says FWC and the state attorney’s office has declined to take action because they would need an eyewitness and the carcass of the shark.

After watching the video, fisherman Robert Kufner said he felt it was wrong the man on camera was not in trouble with the law.

“They should have did something to him,” he said.” I don’t believe in anybody killing anything they’re not going to eat.”

Currently no fishing or surfing is allowed at Bicentennial and Millennium parks. City staff says the current rules banning fishing on the beach don’t give police much recourse for dealing with rule breakers, thus making enforcement “problematic.”

If approved, the city says this ordinance would give police a better way to enforce the rules and better define the ban.

An upgraded ban would prohibt fishing 150 feet north and south of Bicentennial and Millennium Parks.

The fisherman was recorded at the Harbour House events venue which is next to Bicentennial Park.

“With the unhappiness of what transpired last month, we have confidence if somebody is fishing it will be reported,” City Manager John Coffey said. “We just want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

The city council was originally scheduled to discuss the issue on Tuesday, Jan. 10, but an error in the agenda caused it to be tabled, according to Coffey. He added that a second reading would appear on Feb. 28.

Stick with News 6 and for updates Tuesday night if the council passes the first reading of the ordinance.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.