By Samantha Whitcraft, Shark Savers International
Photo: Mary O’Malley, Shark Savers
Florida is one of those places that like South Africa and Australia, is synonymous with sharks. The good news is that the State of Florida has listed 25 species of elasmobranchs as completely protected from harvest, on their ‘Protected Species’ list. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) defines this protected status as prohibiting the harvest, possession, landing, purchase or sale of these species or any part of them. The complete list includes not only some of the most charismatic species like white sharks and whale sharks but also species that are more rare like sawfish and basking sharks. And in the past three years alone, a united coalition of local conservation organizations, scientists, catch-and-release fishermen and concerned citizens have rallied to add several more species to that list.
First, in February 2010, to protect a unique, local aggregation that is popular with both local and visiting divers, lemon sharks were added to the list.…