As regulations tighten for other fish, lemons sharks and other large coastal shark species - already in trouble! - are facing increased fishing pressure. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking feedback from the public on options for amending its shark management rules.
Commercial fishermen are gearing up now to target the winter lemon shark aggregations off Florida's coast. It's critical that as many people as possible speak up in support of greater protections for lemon sharks and other highly vulnerable large coastal shark species.
Please join Dr. Samuel Gruber, Walt Stearns, publisher of the Underwater Journal, and others who are concerned about the fate of Florida’s sharks in this effort to save lemon sharks and other highly vulnerable sharks.
Lemon sharks take 12 to 15 years to reach maturity and then only mate once every two years, have long gestation periods and give birth to a small number of young. These slow reproductive characteristics, very high first year mortality destruction of lemon shark nursery habitats, combine to make this species extremely vulnerable.
The lemon shark "aggregations" - large gatherings that take place off the coast of Florida in a small regional area close to shore with a highly predictable time frame, also make them easy targets for fishermen. Satellite tagging studies have proven that the lemon sharks that aggregate off Florida’s coastline have come from all up and down the East Coast of the US and the Bahamas.
Commercial targeting of Florida's lemon shark aggregations can severely deplete or even wipe out lemon sharks populations very quickly and will impact a large geographic area. This is a potential shark conservation disaster!
If at all possible, please attend this meeting and ask the FWC to add lemon sharks to the Prohibited Species List.
The FWC Meeting is will be held on September 10th 8:30 am. at:
10400 County Road 48
Phone: (352) 324-3101
Fax: (352) 324-2636