“I have fished up there,” said Captain Chris DeWitt of BigSharkFishing.com. “They’re there no matter what.”
DeWitt, who’s spent almost 20 years fishing local waters for sharks and other big game fish, said it’s not the chumming that brings the sharks to the pass.
“They’re already there,” he said.
State law does not allow local jurisdictions to adopt their own fishing regulations off land they don’t own, with that authority resting solely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The city is considering a letter to the FWC urging the commission to ban chumming, the practice of baiting the water with blood, oil and fish parts, within 1,000 feet of residential property.
Vance said rather than ask the FWC to allow the city to regulate fishing, a prospect she deemed unlikely, the city might fare better by asking for a statewide rule.
DeWitt said he understands rules that already prohibit chumming near swimming beaches, which many jurisdictions already do. But in a busy fishing area where condos happen to crowd the edge of the pass?
“That’s a tough one,” he said. “I agree with not chumming where people are swimming,” he said. “Other than that whether it’s a residential area or not the sharks are there.”
The city council will discuss the issue at its August 5 meeting.