Florida is reportedly moving toward a statewide ban on “chumming,” or the practice of fishermen dumping blood into the ocean along beaches to lure sharks.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected to implement the ban later this month, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The technique involves scattering bloody fish guts and oil into the water to produce a slick surface and lure sharks closer to baited hooks.
The regulators note that the sharks could be lured closer to swimmers.
"Personally, I would strongly prefer to not be in the water where folks are ringing the dinner bell for the ocean's ultimate predator," Debbie Salamone, whose Achilles tendon was severed by a shark bite in 2004, told the news outlet.
Fisherman, however, complained that the ban threatens traditions and punishes anglers who can’t afford to fish for sharks on boats.
The ban would continue to allow chumming off of boats, even if the boat is close to shore, the outlet noted.
Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research, told the AP that the ban on chumming would benefit the shark populations in Florida.
While it is a myth that sharks can small a drop of blood from a mile away, large amounts of chum attract them.
"There's so much social media attention on this kind of fishing. Everybody drags the sharks up on the beach and gets a picture posted on Instagram or Facebook or wherever," Hueter said. "It's causing the education of the masses about shark conservation to run in the wrong direction."
Daniel Rodriguez, an avid shark fisher, asked the commission to “tread lightly” with the new rules.
"The ability to enjoy the fishing tradition including shark fishing should be affordable and accessible to everyone,” he wrote to the regulators.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is also expected to require shark fisherman to have a free annual permit to fish on beaches, to release some species immediately without removing them from water, and to use nonstainless steel circle hooks, AP noted.