Tiger sharks and hammerheads can swim a little easier beginning Jan. 1. That’s when the harvest of three species of hammerhead sharks and tiger sharks becomes illegal in Florida waters. The hammerhead species protected include great, scalloped and smooth.
Also prohibited will be the possession, sale and exchange of these top predators — although catch and release in state waters will be allowed and the new law does not limit catching the sharks in adjacent federal waters.
In 2010, concerned citizens, shark researchers and shark anglers sparked this regulation change by expressing to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission a desire to see increased protections of sharks.
Florida waters offer essential habitat for young sharks, which is important for species such as the slow-to-reproduce tiger shark, which takes about 15 years to reach maturity, according to the FWC.
— Staff report