Commercial Shark Harvest Requirements
The following requirements apply to the commercial harvest of sharks. No exceptions are made for the incidental harvest of sharks while fishing in another directed fishery.
Licenses Required - State of Florida Saltwater Products License (SPL) and a federal annual vessel permit for sharks (Shark Limited Access Permit (LAP)). Sharks are not regulated as a Marine Life (ML) species, and a State of Florida ML endorsement does not authorize the harvest of sharks.
Bag limit - The bag limit for the commercial harvest of sharks in state waters is the same as recreational harvest which is one per person per day, maximum two per vessel. Federal limits apply in federal waters.
Allowable Harvesting Gear - If harvest occurs in state waters of Florida; rod and reel, handline, and bandit gear are the only allowable harvesting gear. If harvest occurs in federal waters; rod and reel, handline, bandit gear, longlines and gill nets are allowable harvesting gear provided that federal regulations allow the use of longlines and gill nets in the area being fished. Fishers harvesting in federal waters should be aware of federal longline restrictions and harvesting gear seasonal restrictions due to Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan regulations. No sharks may be harvested (targeted or incidentally) through the use of any trap in state or federal waters.
Fishery Closures - State waters are closed to commercial harvest when federal waters are closed. All harvest, possession, landing, sale, purchase or exchange is prohibited in Florida during a shark fishery closure, regardless where harvested.
License Requirements for Sale - Commercial shark fishers may only sell to a state licensed wholesale dealer who is also a federally permitted shark dealer.
License Requirements for Purchase - State licensed wholesale dealers may only purchase sharks if they are a federal permitted shark dealer, and the fisher holds a valid State of Florida Saltwater Products License (SPL) and a Federal Shark Limited Access Permit (LAP).
Protected (Prohibited) Species
The following species of shark (or any part of any of the following species) are prohibited from all harvest, possession, landing, purchase, sale or exchange:
- Atlantic angel (Squatina dumeril)
- Basking (Cetorhinus maximus)
- Bigeye sand tiger (Odontaspis noronhai)
- Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai)
- Bigeye thresher (Alopias vulpinus)
- Bignose (Carcharhinus altimus)
- Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezii)
- Dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus)
- Galapagos (Carcharhinus galapagensis)
- Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
- Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)
- Longfin mako (Isurus paucus)
- Narrowtooth (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
- Night (Carcharhinus signatus)
- Sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
- Sand tiger (Odontaspis taurus)
- Scalloped hammerhead (Sphryna lewini)
- Sevengill (Heptranchias perlo)
- Silky (Carcharhinus falciformis)
- Sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus)
- Smalltail (Carcharhinus porosus)
- Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena)
- Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
- Whale (Rhincodon typus)
- White (Carcharodon carcharias)
**NEW** Shark Management Changes
The FWC Commissioners passed a rule that prohibits the recreational and commercial harvest of tiger sharks and great, scalloped and smooth hammerhead sharks from state waters at the Nov. 16, 2011, meeting. The rule took effect January 1, 2012.
Anglers may catch and release prohibited shark species in state waters. Anglers may also catch and take some species of shark in federal waters and land them in Florida but boats traveling through state waters carrying shark must not stop in state waters until the fish are landed.