ASC statement on the recent events in Florida

We have been overwhelmed with requests for information on the recent conflict in Jupiter, Florida between commercial fishers and some individuals on a dive boat who cut and removed the fishing gear from the water. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify our mission at ASC and provide information to passionate conservationists.

Firstly, there IS a commercial shark fishery in Florida, it is LEGAL to catch, kill, and harvest many species of sharks - with the appropriate permits. Sandbar sharks can be caught and harvested by operations with a Shark Research Fishery permit (that comes with very specific requirements).

The commercial fishery is monitored and regulated by NOAA, and commercial operations have strict quota/catch limits, among other requirements, and often have a NOAA observer onboard to check their catches. This is how NOAA gets their population data that sets their catch limits.

ASC advocates for evidence-based policies that maintain the sustainability of our shark fisheries. This means we want policymakers and managers to consider scientific data when setting these rules and quotas, which they do. ASC strongly supports using the correct, legal, and most-effective channels to make changes, should new scientific evidence warrant it.

So, if you are interested in joining us on our mission, you can do the following things….

EDUCATE yourself about how the shark fisheries are managed. This is hard, it is complicated BUT, we can help! An informed mind is a powerful mind. Effective conservation is slow, hard, and expensive, but it is what makes a real difference.

Shark fisheries in the USA are managed by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. They have a special department called the National Marine Fisheries Service, which has a special division for Highly Migratory Species (sharks and billfish). The easiest thing to do is sign up for their newsletter to know what, when, and why things are happening!

This Highly Migratory Species division meets twice a year and provides the public with an opportunity to voice their concerns, you can actually talk to the people making the rules! The latest meeting has just been scheduled for September 9th and 10th, and it is open to the public, please consider joining the webinar.

To make a new rule, change a quota, close a fishery, the HMS department are legally obliged to publish a Federal Register Notice. You can voice your concerns electronically, by mail or over the phone before the Notice becomes a Final Rule. Signing up for the newsletter means you are emailed each time this opportunity is posted!!

SUPPORT organizations that are providing EVIDENCE and DATA! When donating to any conservation organization, look to see how their research fits into ACTUAL management issues.

FINALLY, we do not condone any actions that break the law, endanger lives, or jeopardize livelihoods under the guise of conservation gains.

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