Shark Regulations

  • Hook and line are the only allowable gear for harvesting sharks and the use of natural bait when using multiple hooks is prohibited
  • Minimum fork length of 54 inches for all sharks (excluding Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, blacktip, bonnethead, finetooth and smooth dogfish)
  • Maximum of 1 shark per harvester per day or 2 per vessel, whichever is less
  • Sharks are to be landed in whole condition, this includes landing sharks with heads and tails intact
  • All harvest of the following shark species is prohibited:

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)

All harvest of Largetooth Sawfish, Smalltooth Sawfish, Spiny Dogfish, Manta Ray and Spotted Eagle Ray is also prohibited.Blacktip Shark

**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.

Catch and release methods: By using the following techniques when fishing for shark, anglers can greatly increase fish survival rates.

  • Use tackle heavy enough to land a fish quickly to reduce exhaustion, which could result in its death or weaken it making it more vulnerable to predators. (Prohibited species that die while on the line after being caught in state waters should be returned to the water.)
  • Release the fish while it is in the water when possible.
  • Use a de-hooking device  to remove hooks safely.
  • Use non-stainless steel hooks - these hooks can dissolve if they remain in a fish.
  • Use non-offset circle hooks when fishing with natural bait to avoid gut hooking a fish - circle hooks tend to hook fish in the jaw, making them easy to remove.
  • Bend barbs down on hooks so they can be removed with less damage to a fish.

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Lemon Shark aggregation

Shark Links and Documents

FWC Facts:
The FWC protects and manages more than 200 native species of freshwater fish and more than 500 native species of saltwater fish.

Learn More at AskFWC