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Open letter to the City of Sanibel

By Staff | Jul 8, 2015

To the editor:

I do not mean to be an alarmist, but traffic and visitor congestion is not the only safety problem that the City of Sanibel is facing, it is only a matter of time before we have a serious shark attack off the beautiful beaches of Sanibel when someone will be killed or injured by a shark attack as a result of people being allowed to fish off the beaches right next to where the locals and tourist swim.

As a 40-year property owner and vacationer on the beautiful beaches of Sanibel and a father of a 7 year old, I can state unequivocally that it is becoming out right risky and dangerous to swim off the beaches where people are fishing.

I have witnessed an increasingly large number of people fishing from the beaches in front of condo’s where people are swimming with their families and small children.

Some of these people fishing from the beach employ two or three fishing rods at a time using large chunks of bait fish cast next to the people swimming.

I have also witnessed people throwing fish chum consisting of cutup fish and fish blood into the water to attract fish, including sharks.

Though I am not a marine biologist I would strongly suggest that the probability of a shark attack which usually occurs in 2-3 feet of water is only a matter of time if we continue to allow people to fish off the beaches where people are swimming without any regulation.

I believe it would be good policy and a great safety measure if the City were to employ designated fishing areas on the island that are not near where people are swimming and to limit the number of lines cast by each person and to prohibit seeding the water with chum.

With the recent increase of shark attacks off the Atlantic coast now associated by marine biologist’s with people fishing off the beaches which attract the sharks, it would be a wise measure for the City of Sanibel to be pro-active in implementing fishing free zones at our beaches.

If you think traffic is a problem wait until the first young child is attacked or killed by a predatory shark off our beaches. If you think that will not happen or that I am an alarmist just review the recent increase in shark attacks off the beaches of eastern coast to realize this is a reality , and that it’s not a matter of if but when it will happen here.

Once a shark attack happens and it hits the national news the city will not have to worry about traffic congestion anymore since I assure you the tourist traffic and commercial business’s will quickly be effected.

To our leaders at City Hall this is one concerned person’s call for action.


Bob Bracco