Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gotcha - Florida fisherman convicted of shark fin sales

PANAMA CITY BEACH -- A local fisherman has been convicted of 13 counts of selling shark fins, shark meat and king mackerel without the proper license, according to a news release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Harold Hix, 56, of Panama City Beach, sold 56 shark fins, shark meat and king mackerel to FWC investigators on Sept. 8, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9, according to a news release from FWC. He routinely fished from the Panama City Beach City Pier and the Bay County Pier, where he caught several species of large, coastal sharks, including hammerhead, blacktip, tiger, nurse and bull. He then sold the fins and meat.

Florida law prohibits recreational anglers from selling full or partial sharks without the proper license. Those with a license can only sell some species during the appropriate seasons.

“This is part of our ongoing effort to curb unlawful sales of saltwater products by unlicensed people and unlawful sale of protected marine species,” Capt. Bruce Cooper, leader of FWC investigations in Northwest Florida.

Editors Note: Total fine? $650. Not sure if this fine is a deterrent or not given the market value of shark fin. Additionally not mentioned anywhere in the mainstream media are the commercial sources Mr. Hix sold his shark fin to. It would be interesting to following the supply chain back to his primary customer base in the region and see if there are others making a living from the fining of sharks in Florida's waters.

Complete Story.