Mark Patrick with Charleston County Parks says, “Sharks are going to be in the area naturally because it’s their habitat, but we don’t want people to draw them in here trying to feed those animals in this area.”
Signs in every direction on the Folly Beach pier remind people shark fishing is banned, but Patrick says those signs don’t always work.
He says, “We still get some people, yes, that are targeting sharks and phone calls regularly with people asking if they can shark fish from the pier, so yes it is an issue.”
Right now if someone is caught shark fishing on the pier, Charleston County Parks employees can ask them to leave, but if this ordinance passes, there could be a fine up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
Fishermen tell News 2 the only way to keep sharks from the pier is to ban fishing altogether.
One of these fishermen, Andy Jonjevic, says, “You’re going to catch it with a small shrimp, you’re gonna catch it on a huge, huge piece of mullet, or you’re going to catch it when you’re doing king fishing there at the end of the pier. It goes on, it happens. It’s fishing. You can’t put a sign on your bait going ‘hey shark, please don’t hit this.’ It’s not going to happen.”
Patrick says he understands this won’t eliminate sharks from the waters around the pier, but it can help.
He says, “You’re going to catch sharks if you have a small piece of shrimp and a small hook on your thing, you can catch a small shark every now and then and that’s fine. We understand that, we just don’t want people using large hooks, large chunks of bait to lure sharks into the area.”
The ban will apply to the area from 3rd Street East to 3rd Street West on Folly Beach and the pier falls right in the middle of that. The ordinance will go to it’s second reading and a vote at the City Council meeting on March 8th.