This went to the Mayor and the city attorney. I finally figured out how to post it
To whom it may concern.
It has come to my attention that the city council is considering banning beach Shark fishing. Proposed ordnance 5159 is ill concieved and poorly witten. First and foremost there is no such thing as Shark fishing gear. That is to say, no manufacturer makes tackle specifically designed to catch only shark's. Essentally 5159 ban's equipment that does not exist. The equipment used to fish for Shark is also used to fish for several other species of fish. This in and of it self make's 5159 difficult if not impossible to enforce.
The next issue I see is safety. In order for the city of Boca to impose such an ordnance under Florida law, the city will have to show a documented account of incidence where beach Sharking is or has been the cause of injury. NOAA and the International Shark attack file have no data to that effect. It either does not happen or happen's so rarely that it's not reported. As the Boca city council is only the stewart of the shoreline in Boca, any ordnance passed by them will have to conform to, not countradict the existing state law. (Section 379.2412 of Florida law)
The shore line from mean high tide out into the ocean is owned by the state under Chapter 10 section 11 of the state constitution.
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.
History.—Am. H.J.R. 792, 1970; adopted 1970.
This has been up held as recently as 2009.
On June 17, the Supreme Court held in Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (No. 08-1151) that the land under the water at a Florida shoreline continued to belong to the state even after the state added new sand, extending the beach and interrupting property owners’ exclusive access to the water. By a vote of eight to zero, the Court upheld a decision by the Florida Supreme Court, which had held that the state’s ownership of newly created land at the shoreline was not an unconstitutional taking.
Under Florida law, all beachfront property seaward of the median high-water mark belongs to the state, while the owners of beachfront property own the land between that line and their homes. In 2003, two Florida cities sought to deposit new sand along the shoreline of their beaches, extending the beaches into the sea by seventy-five feet. The new land would belong to the state, depriving the owners of adjacent property of their exclusive access to the water, as well as ownership of any new land subsequently added by gradual natural change. A group of property owners went to state court, arguing that the actions violated the Takings Clause of the Constitution. The Florida Supreme Court rejected that argument, and the Supreme Court agreed. Quote;
When you add Florida law to this Constitutional ruling under section's 379.101, 379.104, and 379.2412. You can see how legally problematic this ban will be. In truth, if there were any merit to the safety concern's of some. The state would have to shut down every fishing pier adjacent to a swimming beach. These piers dump hundred's or pound's of bait into the water every day. The incidence of Shark encounter on these beach's is either nonexistent or extremely rare. In fact the beach in Florida that has the single largest number of Shark encounter's, has had a Shark fishing ban in effect since 2000. Daytona/Valousa banned beach Shark fishing in 2000. In 2009 they tied the all time bite record of 29, 9 years after the ban was inacted. According to NOAA, Mote, and the ISAF, Shark encounter occurrence on any given beach is directly proportional to the number of people in attendance at that beach. Daytona beach has the largest number of visitor's of any beach in the state. Considering this, it's evident that the expert's at NOAA, Mote and the ISAF are correct.
Another stat you may not be aware of, Surfing account's for 45% of all Shark encounter's in state water's. So should you ban surfing? Absolutely not. If someone chooses to take that risk that is their right to do so. In truth, any activity that take's place in the ocean has risk's. As administrator's your best tool is education and awareness of these risk's. A Shark fishing ban will do more to lull beach goer's into a false sense of security that no Shark fishing means no Sharks. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Over the next few month's, thousand's of Spinner and Blacktip Shark's will be migrating past Boca beach. This annual migration has been going on for million's of years. Like every other beach on the East coast, Boca will see an increase in shark activity. It will not however be in any way tied to any type of fishing. Or any other beach activity for that matter. So how do you as administrator's keep your beach safe during this period?Education and awareness! Both for your first responder's and the public at large. I would be happy to assist you in such an endeavor, and have attached my contact info for that purpose.
In closing I offer a statment from NOAA that really say's it all.
It's The Ocean, Not A Swimming Pool
The ocean is a vast wilderness, home to thousands of awesome and wonderful wild creatures, and when you visit the beach this summer, you are a guest in their environment. Like swimming in a swimming pool, you need to be aware of potential dangers and some precautions to ensure your safety.
Just like in a swimming pool, the biggest danger to humans who swim in the ocean is the potential for drowning. Many of the same precautions you should take to prevent drowning in a swimming pool also apply to swimming in the ocean. However, the ocean is wild, and other potential dangers exist there -- like getting caught in a riptide, getting knocked over by a large wave, getting stung by a jellyfish, cutting a foot on a shell, or getting bitten by a shark -- that do not exist in a swimming pool.
The majority of ocean creatures are harmless to people, but some animals can and occasionally do injure humans. Usually, when an ocean animal hurts a human, it is a defense behavior -- like the jellyfish that stings or the crab that pinches -- because the animal perceives the human as a threat.
When a shark bites a human, it is usually mistaken identity -- the shark thinks the human is a fish and takes a bite expecting to have dinner. When the shark realizes that the person is not a tasty fish, it lets go and swims away. This is why most shark "attacks" are hit-and-run incidents and often only result in cuts and bruises, which may require stitches but are not considered serious injuries. But this is not always the case. Sometimes shark bites can cause serious injuries and can rarely even be fatal. There are precautions you can take to reduce your risk of encountering a shark and reducing your risk of a shark attack. NOAA Fisheries encourages all beachgoers to "swim smart."
Remember that when you swim in the ocean you are a guest in a wild habitat and you should respect that habitat and its creatures, much like you would if you were camping at Glacier National Park where wild grizzly bears live. And just like putting on sunscreen when swimming in a swimming pool and storing food wisely when camping in grizzly bear territory, taking precautions to ensure your health and safety in the ocean is the best way to enjoy your summer beach vacation.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Respectfully Patrick Dirindin