New Shark Regulations
Florida Saltwater Fishing
If you fish for sharks from shore or from a boat, heads up, several new regulations that will impact you.
FWC approved changes earlier this year after months of collecting public input and working with stakeholders. The updates are intended to increase survival of released sharks, improve information gathering for the shore-based fishery and address some of the public safety concerns related to the fishery.
Fishing for sharks from shore? You need the permit.
Adult anglers fishing for shark from shore must take an online educational shore-based shark fishing course AND have a no-cost, shore-based shark fishing permit (renew annually). This permit will be associated with your recreational fishing license if you are required to have one. Fishing for sharks from a vessel does not require the additional permit.
This requirement is for all adult anglers that require a license (as well as those over the age of 65 who are normally exempt from needing a license) targeting or harvesting sharks from shore, including from any structure attached to shore such as jetties, bridges and piers. The permit is also required if fishing from shore for any species under the following circumstances:
- 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.
Those 16 and younger fishing for sharks from shore or as otherwise described above are not required to obtain the permit but will be required to take the online educational course unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit.
When chumming for shark or other species…
Chumming is prohibited when fishing for any species (not just sharks) from the beach.
What if I catch a prohibited shark species?
Whether fishing from shore, or from a boat, prohibited species must remain in the water. When fishing from shore, prohibited sharks must be released immediately. Hook removal or cutting the hook or leader must be completed as quickly as possible to prevent delaying release of prohibited species.
What kind of gear do I use when fishing for sharks?
When fishing from shore or vessel, non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks must be used when fishing for sharks with live or dead natural bait. The new rules also require that you be in possession of a device capable of quickly cutting your hook or leader (bolt cutters or cable cutters for example).
Learn more about the online education course and how to get the permit, see a list of prohibited sharks, and more at MyFWC.com/Marine by clicking on “Recreational Regulations” and “Sharks.”