A local man has been charged with Possession of a Sandbar Shark, and is set for trial tomorrow in Fort Myers. Sandbar sharks are not permitted to be harvested. For good measure, the guy is also charged with harvesting the shark with a powerhead (or bangstick), and with spearing the shark. He was also charged with obstruction for tossing a few fish overboard, allegedly in an attempt to comply with the boat’s bag limit. Four charges, all second degree misdemeanors, the lowest category of criminal offense in Florida. The trial should be fascinating… because what would you do if a you ran into a shark while swimming? I punch it in the nose, but I’m crazy… most people with a spear gun are apt to defend themselves, I would think! We may see a self-defense from shark defense theory. Of course, on cannot stand their ground… if they are under water!
The case reminds me of the season 1 episode of South Park, “Volcano,” where Uncle Jimbo explains the rules of hunting to the boys. As long as he shouts, “It’s Coming Right For Us,” he thinks he’s justified in shooting, and blasts away at the animal as an imminent threat. In this guy’s case, a 6-foot shark is certainly a lot more intimidating than the bunny that Stan didn’t want to shoot. Local attorney John Mills will surely make it an interesting and hotly contested trial. Fish and Wildlife ought to be able to sympathize with the dangers of encountering wildlife here in Florida, as it’s a regular danger for FWC officers.