Bay County man fined for shark fin, shark meat sales

By: Capt. Bruce Cooper, F-W-C
By: Capt. Bruce Cooper, F-W-C

A Panama City Beach man has been found guilty on 13 charges in Bay County Court for illegally selling shark fins, shark meat and king mackerel. Harold Hix, 66, must pay a $650 fine and serve 12 months probation.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators say Hix routinely fished from both the Panama City Beach City Pier and the nearby county pier, where he caught several species of large, coastal sharks. He then sold both the fins and meat to FWC undercover investigators.

Capt. Bruce Cooper, leader of the FWC’s Investigations Section in Northwest Florida, said, “No recreational anglers may sell sharks or parts of sharks unless they are properly licensed. Those who are licensed commercially can sell some species of sharks or other marine fish during open seasons for those species."

“This is part of our ongoing effort to curb unlawful sales of saltwater products by unlicensed people and the unlawful sale of protected marine species,” Cooper said.

Hix sold investigators 56 shark fins, shark meat and king mackerel on Sept. 8 and on Oct. 1 and 9. The shark species included hammerhead, blacktip, tiger, nurse and bull.

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  • by Will Noble Location: San Diego on Dec 21, 2010 at 04:51 PM
    This guys deserves jail time. I hope some day the courts will understand the impact of such an act and deliver real justice. He should have been charged under animal cruelty laws in addition to poaching violations.
  • by Suecat Location: Ohio on Dec 20, 2010 at 06:34 AM
    He is very insensitve man. Sharks were there before people. I am glad He got fined and throw the key. Poor sharks. Shark fin soup is DUMB. Use vegetable soup PERIOD.
  • by Margie Location: Reno on Dec 19, 2010 at 06:21 PM
    @you-betcha - I agree with you 100%. This guy's actions are despicable. He so got a slap on the wrist for this. Why is the state of FL going soft on him? He should have gotten jail time for sure and he should lose the ability to get a fishing license for the duration of his life. I grew up in Pensacola - my dad was a fisheries biologist - that anyone did this in my old backyard really angers me!!
  • by local Location: PC on Dec 19, 2010 at 05:38 PM
    On top of the fines, he should lose his fishing license and not be able to obtain another one. He abused his privilege and therefore should not ever have it granted in this state again. This is alot more than just a measurement error for size limits. This is a blatant disregard for the law.
  • by william Location: south florida on Dec 18, 2010 at 10:42 AM
    This guy should be put in jail. His actions as a fishermen put fishermen like myself out of business, and hurts the whole economy of Florida, especially tourism. I have zero tolerance for poaching, and so should the state.
  • by Ken Location: Panama City, Fl on Dec 18, 2010 at 08:38 AM
    Harold Hix got off with a slap on the hand; talk about unequal justice in the courts. I pleaded no contest to 1 short filet of Amberjack found in my cooler and I was required to go to court and pay a $252 fine, whereas Mr. Hix is caught multiple times, with 56 fins and other fish for sale and gets off with a measley $650. I guess it is still WHO you know in the system. Just make sure YOU know someone before you try something. You have been warned!
  • by you-betcha Location: beach on Dec 18, 2010 at 04:47 AM
    maybe it is time to fin him, cut off his arms and see how he swims. what a disgrace of a person.
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