Over the course of the last year or two, a lot of controversy regarding shore bound shark fishing has arisen all the way down Florida's Eastern seaboard. A battle has been taking place between fisherman and shark activists, with local government being stuck smack dab in the middle of it all. But now with the latest controversy that has come to be in Indian River County Florida, the stakes have been raised to a point of which we have not seen since this uphill struggle has begun.
Sean Paxton adressed this issue very well from a bit of a different angle here-
Also many discussion on shorebound issues occur here on Tom's site-
Shore bound shark fishing, and shore bound fishing in general, are your right as a citizen of Florida to partake in if you wish. If you do not like living in a condo on the beach, or down the street and seeing people with their children surf fishing on our pristine beaches, guess what? TOUGH SH!T! This is where the base of the problem is, other citizens keep bothering city and county commissions to the point that they have to put these "bans" on their local beaches, for reasons like a new realtor just got her realty licence and is selling condos on a beach, saw somebody catch a shark, and now it is her mission in life to stop these "atrocities" so she can continue being able to push beach front real estate. Sounds like a crappy example right? Well its not, this is how the Indian River County commission was approached with the issue at hand. But here is the kicker in it all, even after all the cities and counties that have addressed this issue multiple times, like many others the ban against shark fishing in the county was voted down, thus allowing fisherman to continue to do what they do on perhaps the most famous stretch of shoreline for shark fishing in America.
BUT! did these people stop after their campaign was voted down at the county level? Of course not, they went to their city councils, and what did they do? They Voted in favor of a ban. You may sit here and say something along the line of "Oh, doesn't that just suck? We can't fish there anymore." But heres where it gets interesting.........
THE CITY OR COUNTY CANNOT TELL YOU THAT YOU CANNOT FISH ON THE BEACH!!!
Again, recreational anglers are being stripped of their rights unjustly and illegally, and no I'm not just blowing smoke, heres the skinny on the whole "fishing ban" on public beaches.
The right to fish from shore is protected in the state constitution.
"Article X section 11.
SECTION 11. Sovereignty lands.--The title to lands under navigable waters, within the boundaries of the state, which have not been alienated, including beaches below mean high water lines, is held by the state, by virtue of its sovereignty, in trust for all the people. Sale of such lands may be authorized by law, but only when in the public interest. Private use of portions of such lands may be authorized by law, but only when not contrary to the public interest."
In a quick rundown this is what all that means....
"Unless the land is sold or given by the state to a group or entity for the purpose of like a power plant or water treatment plant. Or the Fed. Gov. for a Navel base or coast guard base or something that is for the good of the public, it belongs to us. No municipality owns the land from Mean High Tide "The 100 year high tide mark" Out into the ocean. Public interest means all the public, not one group over another group."
So in a nutshell, no matter what sign is posted, you can fish for whatever you want as long as you are below the mean high tide mark as dictated over the course of 100years. You can be there even in the police tell you to leave, and there is a "Ban" in place. The only people who can regulate what you do under that mean high tide mark is the State of Florida. And from our understanding, FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) which is in fact a state organization, doesn't only view what these cities doing as ILLEGAL, but a violation of Floridians rights and an undermining of the states authority.
In turn, police don't have the training to be able to tell what your fishing for, and therefore are discriminating on a certain group for using a bit larger tackle and classifying it ALL as "Shark Fishing" When in Reality you could be targeting other large coastal species such as Tarpon, Goliath Grouper, and Stingrays.
This is not the end of this struggle by any means, keep checking in to see what Team Rebel, along with many other people are doing to help Shore bound fisherman in this state protect their right to do what they love. Many others are involved in this besides us, and I would like to give them some credit right now for their help and hours of HARD work obtaining all the proper information to shoot down advances like the one in Indian River County, Delray Beach, Lauderdale by the Sea, and Deerfield Beach.
Tom Argue (Webmaster and Site Administrator of WWW.BOATLESSFISHING.COM)
Sean & Brooks Paxton ("The Shark Brothers" WWW.SeanPaxton.COM)
Pat Dirindian (All around legality and rights bad-ass)
Also thank you Pat for the Constitution article and the rundown of it for the readers!
And many others involved as well, I will name them throughout out struggler that is now bringing enemy's together for a common goal