In news that is sure to please shark conservationists, Florida on Wednesday announced it will ban the take of tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks in state waters beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
The measure, enacted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during meetings in Key Largo, also prohibits the possession, sale and exchange of tiger sharks, as well as great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks caught in adjacent federal waters.
Catch-and-release fishing for these sharks still will be allowed in state waters.
Florida waters provide essential shark habitat and there had been increasing concern that too many large, slow-to-reproduce sharks were being harvested. (Tiger sharks take about 15 years to reach sexual maturity.)
Several other species of sharks already enjoy catch-and-release-only protection in Florida.
-- Tiger shark image is courtesy of Wikipedia