Blacktip sharkSharks

Be a shark-smart angler. Check out our shark-smart fishing guidelines.

Harvestable sharks fall into the following two groups of species:

 

Group 1 sharks (12 species) have no minimum size limit and include: 

  • Atlantic Sharpnose
  • Blacknose
  • Blacktip
  • Bonnethead
  • Finetooth
  • All species of dogfish and smoothounds within the Genus Mustelus

Group 2 sharks (8 species) have a 54 inch (fork length) minimum size limit and include:

  • Bull
  • Nurse
  • Spinner
  • Blue
  • Oceanic whitetip
  • Porbeagle
  • Shortfin mako
  • Thresher (common)

Bag and vessel limits for Group 1 and Group 2 sharks: The daily bag limit is one shark per person per day and there is an overlapping vessel limit of two sharks. This means that the maximum number of sharks that can be retained from a vessel is two sharks even if more than two anglers are on board.

Group 3 sharks are prohibited from harvest in state waters and include:

  • 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)
  • Caribbean sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon porosus)
  • 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)

Gear Requirements

Lemon Shark aggregation

Hook and line only. Use of natural bait when using multiple hooks is prohibited.

Landing in Whole Condition Requirements

All sharks that are retained for use must remain in whole condition with heads, tails and fins attached until landed. Gilling and evisceration while on waters or in a fishing location is allowed. 

Shark-Smart Fishing

Help released sharks survive. Fish safe and Shark-Smart!

Shark survival: why it’s important

Sharks are apex predators that play an important role in marine ecosystems. Releasing sharks in a way that increases their chance of survival is an important step toward achieving and maintaining healthy, sustainable shark populations.

Know before you go!

  • Many species of sharks are prohibited from harvest, possession, or landing in Florida waters.
  • Do not remove prohibited species from the water and release as quickly as possible.
  • Prohibited species caught from the shore should be left in as much water as possible while maintaining the safety of the angler and those nearby.
  • Treat unknown catches as a prohibited species and release them.

Negative shark encounters

Not every encounter with a shark is intentional or wanted. Sharks have been known to take fish off the line and even bite boat motors. These negative shark interactions are an unfortunate side effect of healthy and sustainable shark populations. While it may be unfavorable, the best way to avoid negative interactions with sharks is to move to another area and away from where shark activity is occurring. 

Shark-Smart tackle

Proper tackle is the first step in responsible catch-and-release shark fishing.

  • Use non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks.
  • Less likely to hook fish in vital organs
  • Easier to remove
  • More likely to rust away
  • Flatten or file down hook barbs.
  • Use appropriate hook size for the shark targeted.
  • Use heavy tackle, a minimum of 80-pound test.

Shark-Smart handling and release

Sharks are powerful animals. Ensure the safety of both the angler and the shark by handling and releasing Shark-Smart.

  • Minimize fight time. Use Shark-Smart tackle.
  • Minimize handling. Touching sharks can remove their protective mucous layer and cause harm.
  • Need to handle or touch the shark? Use wet hands or a wet towel (do not use a wet towel when handling other fishes.)
  • Keep sharks, especially the gills, in the water.
  • Removing sharks from the water increases the likelihood of injuries to the angler or the shark.
  • NEVER bring a large shark onto a fishing vessel, a pier or bridge or onto dry land beyond the surf zone unless you plan to harvest it.
  • Minimize release time and do not delay release just to take pictures.
  • Do not sit on the shark’s back or pull back on the snout to reveal the teeth.
  • Use a long-handled dehooking device to help with hook removal.
  • If it is not possible to remove the hook using a long-handled dehooking device, cut the hook or leader as close as you can.
  • Sharks that swim off with a long length of line trailing behind them may be less likely to survive.

Prepare

  • Have release tools ready and know how to use them.
  • If taking photos, make sure the camera is ready beforehand.
  • Ensure everyone knows their role in the release procedure prior to the fishing trip.

Location, location, location!

Fish Shark-Smart from a boat:

  • Keep the shark in the water alongside the vessel at all times.
  • Release activities such as taking photos and removing the hook should be done while the shark is in the water.

Fish Shark-Smart from the shore:

  • Keep the shark in as much water as is safely possible.
  • Avoid shark fishing on crowded beaches or during high-traffic times of the day.
  • Avoid shark fishing near swimmers or popular swimming areas.
  • Do not chum for sharks from the beach or in close proximity to swimming beaches.

Fish Shark-Smart from a pier:

  • Most piers and bridges are high above the water, making handling and release difficult. Catch-and-release shark fishing is not recommended from these locations.
  • Do NOT bring a large shark onto a pier or bridge. Instead, walk the shark to the base of the bridge/pier before removing the hook or cutting the line.
  • Small sharks can be brought up from the water for hook removal by using a bridge/pier net.
  • When releasing, use the pier net to lower the fish back down to the water.

Sawfish

Sawfish are federally listed as endangered. Do not intentionally target, harass or unnecessarily handle a sawfish. Hooked sawfish should be released as quickly as possible.

Is that shark tagged?

  • The recapture of a tagged shark can provide a wealth of data.
  • If it is safe to do so, record the information on the tag and leave it intact and attached to the shark.
  • If it is not safe to read the information on the tag, remove it by cutting the monofilament tether at the base of the tag. Do NOT attempt to pull the tag out.
  • Report the shark to the agency listed on the tag.
  • Visit the NOAA Apex Predator Program for more information at na.nefsc.noaa. gov/sharks/tagging.html.

More information



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