Harvestable sharks fall into the following two groups of species:
Group 1 sharks (12 species) have no minimum size limit and include:
- Atlantic Sharpnose
- Smooth dogfish and Florida smoothounds
Group 2 sharks (7 species) have a 54 inch (fork length) minimum size limit and include:
- Oceanic whitetip
- Thresher (common)
Group 3 shark (1 species) has an 83 inch (fork length) minimum size limit and includes:
- Shortfin mako (effective Jan. 1, 2020)
Bag and vessel limits for Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 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.
Shore-based Shark Fishing
If you plan to target or keep sharks caught from shore, including structures attached to shore such as jetties, bridges and piers, you are required to pass an online educational course found at MyFWC.com/SharkCourse.
Once completed, you will be prompted to go to FWC’s online licensing system, where you will need to get the no-cost, Shore-based Shark Fishing permit (must be renewed annually). You are not required to have this permit if you are fishing for sharks from a vessel.
The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license.
The permit is also required if you are 16 and older and plan to fish from shore for any species of fish and will be:
- Fishing with a metal leader more than 4 feet long,
- Using a fighting belt/harness, or
- Deploying bait by any means other than casting (kayaking for example) while using a hook that is 1 ½ inches or larger at the widest inside distance.
Anglers younger than 16 are not required to obtain the permit but are required to take the online educational course unless they are fishing with someone else who holds a Shore-based Shark Fishing permit.
Hook and line only. Harvest prohibited by or with the use of a treble hook or any other multiple hook (any hook with two or more points and a common shaft) in conjunction with live or dead natural bait.
Non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks are required when targeting or harvesting sharks when using live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel).
The possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks is required (when fishing from shore or a vessel).
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.
Chumming is prohibited when fishing for any species from the beach.
Federal HMS Permit Holders in state waters:
Recreational anglers fishing for or harvesting sharks in state waters are not required to hold the federal HMS vessel permit. However, if you are fishing from a HMS-permitted vessel, you are must comply with the permit requirements when fishing in both state and federal waters.
All HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit holders that wish to recreationally fish for and/or retain sharks are required to add a Shark Endorsement to their permit. To obtain this endorsement, permit holders need to complete an online shark identification and fishing regulation training course. Additionally, all HMS permit holders are required to use non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for sharks recreationally south of south of 41° 43’ N latitude (near Chatham, Massachusetts – the northern extent of the dusky shark’s U.S. Atlantic range), except when fishing with flies or artificial lures.
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.
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.
Sharks that 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)
- Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
- Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
- Whale (Rhincodon typus)
- White (Carcharodon carcharias)
Prohibited shark species must remain in the water with the gills submerged when fishing from shore or from a vessel, and prohibited shark species must be released without delay when fishing from the shore. If hook removal will delay release, cut the hook or the leader as close to the hook as possible.