Dear editor,

I am so tired of seeing all the negativity of LBSF. Let me spell that out for the ignorant people: land-based shark fishing.

Yes their are a few shark fishermen out their that don't respect the sport, but what about the rest? I am willing to say that more than 200 sharks (if not more) are tagged and released. Many of those sharks are re-caught. Then we report their location and size back to the agency that is documenting that shark.

I would also be willing to say that if you talk to a seasoned shark fishermen, we can tell you more about the sharks we catch than any— and I mean any — shark biologist (David Shiffman), or marine biologist. We know their miagration patterns, what foods they like during summer vs. fall or spring.

We could also tell all the biologist that the most dangerous time to swim at the beach is dusk and dawn is false! All those unknowing beach goers who follow that false statement feel safer swimming during the day. Sharks eat all day and night long. Their eating habits have more to do with moon phases and incoming or outgoing tides. Some beaches they are more active on incoming and some on outgoing tides.

Ask me how many times I have seen a 9-foot lemon shark swimming in knee deep water on some of our Eastern panhandle beaches! We have handtossed food to lemons and a scalloped hammer. I have stood on our beach and watched a bull shark swim in between my husband and kids! We were not shark fishing. The Spanish Mackerel were in close so the sharks came in to feed.

Which brings me to this point I would like to make. How can you say "we" are luring sharks in close to the beach? The sharks are already there! Most all of us take our baits out 150 yards to 500 to 700 yards. We are not luring anything when they are already there.

People want to believe that sharks don't come in close to shore. That just isn't true. The ocean is their domain, not ours! You take a risk everytime you get in the water.

I am speaking on behalf of the majority shark fishermen. We know when a hammerhead is on the end of the line. We also know that you need to get them in fast. Leave them in the water while you take photos and measurements and then safely release them.

I don't know of a shark fishermen alive that wants a dead 12-foot hammerhead on their hands and most of our conscience. It is sport fishing from the beach and it's a huge accomplishment to catch a giant majestic beautiful shark from shore.

David Shiffman, you are just trying to make a name for yourself and you are nothing more than an ignorant fool!

Shark fishermen, let me ask you a question. Ironically, shark week just started. How many of us watch it every single year and see so much false information and we say, "That's not true."

I read another article where one of the commissioners, Joshua Kellam, thought we should be "punished!" He was disgusted by seeing us on the shark's back and holding their mouths open. Such an ignorant response when people do the same thing with the deer they kill or any other animal.

We do not set out to kill our catches but if it's a legal catch then what's wrong with people eating them? They are just a fish after all and people shouldn't be criticized for harvesting one shark per person.

My last thought is, instead of trying to ban and restrict shark fishing, why don't the biologists team up with shark fishermen who know what they are doing and learn accurate information?

I guarantee fishing a week on the beach with one of us, you would learn more than any textbook, diving, or dumping chum on top of your head (if you watched Shark Week last night.) If these scientists and biologists would stop attacking us because you are missing out on learning more about the species that fascinates you the most.

By the way srpressgazette what gave you the right to use someone's picture in such a negative way? You should put a picture of someone holding a big buck with blood spilling out everywhere. The deer is dead. The tiger shark is alive and out swimming around doing whatever tiger sharks do, growing another foot and reproducing!

DIANA DAUGHTREY COUPEL

Gulf Breeze

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