Harvestable Sharks fall into the following three groups of species:
Group 1 sharks (12 species) have no minimum size limit and include:
- Atlantic Sharpnose
- All species of dogfish and smoothounds within the Genus Mustelus
Group 2 sharks (9 species) which have a 54 inch (fork length) minimum size limit:
- Oceanic whitetip
- Shortfin mako
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 2 sharks. This means that the maximum number of sharks that can be retained from a vessel is 2 sharks even if more than two anglers are on board.
Group 3 sharks (which include all species of shark not included within Groups 1, 2 and 4) are not specifically regulated.
For this group of sharks the daily bag limit is 100 pounds or 2 fish - whichever is the greater amount.
Group 4 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)
- 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)
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.
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-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing with natural bait to avoid gut hooking a fish - circle hooks tend to hook fish in the jaw, making them easier to remove.
- Bend barbs down on hooks so they can be removed with less damage to a fish.