The recent public video of individuals dragging a large shark from the back of a speeding boat, and other horrific videos depicting wildlife abuse, have rightly brought forth a tremendous outpouring of indignation. We are not only concerned about these particular incidents, but we’re also concerned with what we believe are very meager penalties for those who violate fish and wildlife laws and rules in Florida. The vast majority of poachers, those who steal and abuse public resources, are cited with a 2nd-degree misdemeanor, and usually fined a small amount of money. As the chance of actually being caught by an FWC officer is also minimal, unless one is thoughtless enough to put the crime on the internet, and as the penalty if convicted is oft-times inadequate, there seems to be little deterrence to wrongdoers.
We believe that the FWC and the Florida Legislature need to greatly increase all penalties and make them mandatory. Mandatory penalties will keep judges from handing out small fines that are simply the cost of doing business for the outlaws. Moreover, Florida’s fish and wildlife penalties are presently very weak in comparison to other states. Law abiding sportsmen and women want the law violators out of the woods and off the waters. This is how to do it.
If you agree that penalties should be drastically increased and made mandatory, please contact your legislators: