The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has approved a ban on the harvest of tiger sharks and three species of hammerhead sharks in state waters, beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
The measure was approved Wednesday during meetings in Key Largo. The news is sure to please shark conservationists and scientists who had grown increasingly concerned that too many large, slow-to-reproduce sharks were being killed.
(A tiger shark requires 15 years to reach sexual maturity.)
The measure 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 several other species already enjoy catch-and-release-only protection in state waters.