In November 2011, a new law passed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that it would be illegal to harvest the tiger shark and the three species of hammerhead sharks in Florida.
More specifically, the exact names of these sharks are:
- the tiger sharks
- the great hammerhead shark
- the smooth hammerhead sharks
- the scalloped hammerhead sharks
These four species should be on a release basis & they should not be possessed, killed, sold, or exchanged in state waters. These rules apply only to state waters and not for harvesting these species in the federal waters.
Why this new regulation?
This new regulation has been made explicitly for these four species as the tiger shark population declined rapidly as almost 97% of tiger sharks were reduced in US Atlantic waters. At the same time, the three other species of hammerhead sharks have reduced up to 70%. The primary purpose of these sharks being caught is for their fins for shark fin soup.
The tiger sharks reproduce slowly and are estimated to give birth once every two to three years, and it takes almost 15 years for them to reach sexual maturity. With such a slow birthing rate and high killing rate, tiger sharks declined at a high rate of 97%.
Similarly, the other hammerhead sharks reproduce once after two or three years. Hence, protecting these sharks before they vanished in Florida waters was essential.
The Punishment for Killing These Sharks
According to the FWC, killing these newly protected sharks would result in a second-degree misdemeanor, which means the culprit may end up 60 days in jail and a fine.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission held some public workshops in which the people commented on the changes that need to be made. To be more specific, the motive of these public workshops was to gather some general comments to know what addition they need to make to protect the other several species of the sharks from harvesting. People of Florida who were passionate about protecting the tiger and hammerhead sharks and the environment participated in it.