Time for Shark Tales
Who doesn’t love a great shark tale? If you anticipate the annual Shark Week hosted by Discovery Channel, and the SharkFest hosted by National Geographic, you’re not alone. According to the Daily News, an estimated 42 million households tuned in to Shark Week in 2015, and the Discovery Channel network expects even more for 2016!
So, what makes Shark Week and SharkFest so irresistible during the annual frenzy of close encounter stories, documentaries, and educational insights about the marine species that we all try to avoid at the beach? Sharks are one of the most majestic and adaptive creatures in the ocean. As humans, we love to learn about their capabilities and behavior. This year, both networks are claiming to get even more scientific with facts about shark life! We can’t wait to see what this year’s week of sharks brings to the table!
Sharks in Destin, Florida
We all know that the chances of encountering a face to face battle with a live shark are incredibly small when compared to other dangers in the world. However, the experience is not an unheard of event, as we all witness during our annual viewings of Shark Week and SharkFest. Raising awareness of shark behavior, and their feeding habits, is the best way to limit the unthinkable shark attacks for millions of annual beach-goers.
The fact is, sharks are real, they live in the water, and they sometimes feed close to the beach. The Emerald Coast is no exception. With that said, shark attacks near the beaches of Destin, Florida (Okaloosa County) are even rarer in comparison to the rest of the world, and the rest of the state for that matter.
For confirmed shark attacks worldwide in 2015, Click Here
For a full list of reported shark attacks in the state of Florida, Click Here
Please note that this list does not include information about sightings and close calls on Florida beaches.
Remaining aware of your surroundings and educating yourself on the behaviors and habits of native shark species are the most important advantages that you can give yourself, should you ever encounter a dangerous situation with a Florida shark. In addition, local artist, Andy Saczynski, provides 13 tips on avoiding shark attacks along the Emerald Coast! Andy’s artwork is a must see for shark lovers, too!
Shark Lives Matter
In addition to their majestic appearances and behaviors, sharks are functional creatures and vital to the conservation of the ocean. All sharks are important to our ecosystem. As sharks commonly feed on carcasses and other sick fish, they work to keep the ocean clean, while maintaining population control of species that feed on zooplankton, which feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton photosynthesis is necessary for producing oxygen needed by humans for survival, and sharks are at the top of the food chain in the process of eliminating species that feed on phytoplankton. So, next time you take a breath, thank the sharks!
Fishermen Help With Shark Conservation Efforts
Over the years, there has been much debate over the act of fishing for sharks all over the world. With stories of over fishing sharks for the purpose of sport and the Chinese custom of shark fin soup, many advocates are against any type of shark fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. These advocates see fishing for sharks as the ultimate sin against the world, and that fishermen are acting irresponsibly to undergo any fishing attempts for sharks.
The truth is, Destin fishermen know the importance of sharks for our ecosystem and would never overfish any threatened population, as our livelihood depends on a healthy species population to survive each fishing season. In addition, Destin charter fishermen work very closely with the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to determine detailed estimates of fishing populations in the Gulf of Mexico. Regulations for Florida are determined by the catches that Florida fishermen bring in, as compared to the estimation of available fish in the Gulf of Mexico. When it is determined that a species is overfished, regulations against fishing for the species are set in place, and we deem them as off limits.
On the other side of the spectrum, species are sometimes over populated, and overpopulation can result in an unbalanced food chain with the absence of adequate predators to naturally maintain and protect all creatures in the Gulf of Mexico. A great example of this problem can be seen with the current Lionfish invasion. Without any natural predators for the rapidly reproducing Lionfish, the populations many other species in the gulf are taking a dive. Because sharks are at the top of the food chain, there should always be an adequate population of each species. Should any shark species begin to get out of hand causing harm or endangering other fish species in the gulf, Florida fishermen are responsible for bringing the balance back.
Shark Fishing Charters Protect Against Overfishing
We believe that it is our duty to conserve and protect the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, chartering a fishing vessel for your shark fishing trip offers the most advantage in understanding which shark species are open, as well as the regulations and limitations on size and tackle by which sharks are caught. In addition to educating charter customers on the regulations and habits of targeted sharks, accidental catches sometimes occur during everyday charters. Understanding the importance of proper catch and release techniques are vital to ensuring that accidental shark catches are released in a respectful manner for these exquisite creatures. Our aim is never to harm any shark in the process of catch and release.
Chartering an experienced captain and his crew members for your shark fishing trip ensures that you are taking part in responsible conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. We are not, nor do we condone, shark finning, overfishing, or harvesting any species out of season or outside of federal or state regulations. With that said, fishing within the guidelines set forth by state and federal officials make for awesome shark fishing adventures!
For a full list of FWC shark regulations and limitations Click Here
To learn more about protected species in the Gulf of Mexico from the NOAA Click Here
Shark Species Native to the Destin Area
There are several shark species in the Gulf of Mexico, and some species are more often found around the Destin area than others. The most common sharks found around the Emerald Coast include Bull Sharks, Hammerheads, Blacktips, and Sand Sharks. Tiger sharks and Shortfin Makos are also present in deep waters near Destin. However, over the years, Makos have put Destin, Florida in national headlines as these giants often feed closer to shore during annual runs of Cobia and Tarpon. Great White sightings are also becoming a more common event off the shores of Destin. Before chartering your shark fishing adventure, we always encourage our customers to learn as much about the identification and conservation of native sharks! A great source for learning to identify shark species in the Gulf of Mexico can be found here!
For more information on Shark Fishing Charters with the Finest Kind, Click Here