After somewhat of a cliffhanger at the recent FWC meeting in Naples, I took some time to digest it all before making the point here. My brother Brooks and I would like to thank Josh Olive, Editor of The Waterline Magazine, for inviting this commentary and opinion. Here's a little background on the article.
Much to the surprise of those in attendance earlier this month at the FWC meeting, a ban on the recreational and commercial harvest of tiger sharks, as well as smooth, scalloped and great hammerhead sharks is still very much undecided by those in power, but it was compelling public testimony from both sides of the issue that made it so. With a scant three minutes of allowable testimony, per speaker, it can be a challenge addressing complex issues like this. Somehow every word has to count. In this case, as the discussion was winding down, the subject veered into areas that I would describe as having divergent relevance. At that point, when all you can do is listen, it can be hard resisting the temptation to scratch a hole in your head.
So here we are again, standing at the crossroads of another important wildlife management issue, here in Florida. Taking the stage and stealing the spotlight, as they often do, are some of our most prized and invaluable marine resources – sharks, and the State's proposal of increased protective measure for 4 key species. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission will be slamming the gavel on this matter in November. It’s time to ask the question, “What Are Your $harks Worth?”