The new working group would focus on the complex problem of sharks consuming more and more hooked fish before they can be landed.
On Monday, June 12, 2023, US Representatives Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Garret Graves (R-La.) and Marc Veasey (D-Tex.) hosted the Supporting program the Health of aquatic systems through the Research, Knowledge and Enhanced Dialogue (SHARKED) Act in the US House of Representatives. Legislation will begin to address the growing challenge of shark predation, which occurs when a shark eats or damages a hooked fish before an angler can catch a fish.
In general, the possibility of predation occurring is accepted as a natural part of fishing. However, in recent years the frequency of shark predation has increased rapidly in many parts of the country, especially along the Atlantic coast, the southeastern United States, and the western Pacific. The causes are generally recognized to be increased fishing activity, increased abundance of sharks, and predation, which more often becomes a learned behavior.
If enacted, the bill would establish a working group comprised of fisheries managers and shark experts responsible for improving coordination and communication in the fisheries management community on shark predation and identifying research priorities and funding opportunities. . The bill would be the first step towards mitigating shark predation at the national level and creating fundamental knowledge that can be used to improve future management, education and research actions.
“Sharks are a vital part of our ocean ecosystems, but in many parts of the country shark predation is becoming a growing problem that is not just inconvenient, but completely disrupting fishing,” he said. ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard. “These conflicts are bad for the fish, the fishermen and the sharks. This is a complex and multifaceted challenge that requires a dedicated task force to bring attention to the issue.”
“As a lifelong fisherman, I have experienced firsthand the impacts of shark predation and witnessed its effect on our marine ecosystem.” said Congressman Wittman. “I introduced the SHARKED Act to improve the environment for our marine life and sport fishing conditions for anglers while protecting sharks from unsafe conditions and food sources. The SHARKED Act will also serve as the first major step in addressing shark predation across the country. I am proud that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are joining me in this important effort and leading the way in restoring our marine ecosystem and improving fishing experiences for anglers.”
“We must act now to help recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen in Florida and the US who are reporting an increase in shark predation, a phenomenon that negatively impacts fishing experiences, threatens shark safety, and humans and damages the sustainability of target fish stocks. ,” said Congressman Soto. “That’s why I’m proud to co-file the Supporting Aquatic Systems Health Through Research Insights and Enhanced Dialogue (SHARKED) Act, a bill that will direct the Department of Commerce to establish a group to combat shark predation and assist Florida fishermen while protecting the future of the fishing industry and our marine ecosystems.”
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The American Sport Fishing Association (ASA) is the trade association for the sport fishing industry committed to representing the interests of the sport fishing and boating industries, as well as the entire sport fishing community. We provide the industry and anglers with a unified voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect the sport fishing business or sport fishing itself. ASA invests in companies for the long term to ensure the industry remains strong and prosperous, as well as to safeguard and promote the enduring economic, conservation, and social values of America’s sport fishing. ASA also gives America’s 55 million fishermen a voice in political decisions that affect their ability to fish sustainably in our nation’s waterways through Keep America Fishing, our national fisherman advocacy campaign. America’s fishermen generate more than $50 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating jobs for 825,000 people.