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Federal Limits

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Regulations in red are new this year.

2014 Federal Recreational Regulations for Minimum Size, Possession Limits and Seasons

See image on Finfish: Marine Regulations for how to measure fish. See Recreational Minimum Size, Possession Limits and Seasons for state waters listings of species not included in these federal waters regulations (from 3–200nm). For federal regulation questions, please contact the National Marine Fisheries Service at (978) 281-9260, or go to www.nmfs.noaa.gov.

Species

Season

Minimum Size

Possession Limit
(number per angler per day
unless otherwise specified)

Notes

Cod

Year round

22″

10 per person per day

Striped Bass

NA

NA

No possession allowed in EEZ

Possession prohibited in federal waters (3–200 nm). See pages Finfish: Marine Regulations and State Size & Possession Limits for NJ waters.

Dolphin
(Mahi mahi)

Year round

None

10 per day, not to exceed 60 per vessel, which ever is less — except on a charter or headboat, then 10 per paying passenger.

For current federal waters regulations (3–200nm), refer to www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or call (727) 824-5326.

Marlin, White

Year round

66″ lower jaw–
fork length

None

Billfish require Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit when fishing in federal waters (3–200 nm). For permits refer to https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call (888) 872-8862.

During any sanctioned billfish tournaments offering prize money, non-offset circle hooks are required for lures with natural bait or natural/artificial bait combos.

All non-tournament billfish landings must be reported to NMFS within 24 hours, either online at https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or by calling (800) 894-5528.

For current regulations refer to www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or call (727) 824-5399.

Marlin, Blue

Year round

99″ lower jaw–
fork length

None

Roundscale
Spearfish

Year round

66″ lower jaw–
fork length

None

Sailfish

Year round

63″ lower jaw–
fork length

None

Spearfish, Longbill

None

None

Prohibited

Golden Tilefish

Year round

None

8 per angler per day

In effect from the Virginia/North Carolina border north.

Swordfish

Year round

47″ lower jaw–
fork length if the head is naturally attached or 25″ cleithrum to caudal keel if the head has been removed.

For anglers: 1 per person, no more than 4 per vessel per trip.

For charter vessels: 1 per paying passenger, no more than 6 per vessel per trip.

For headboat vessels: 1 per paying passenger, no more than 15 per vessel per trip.

Swordfish, tuna and sharks require an HMS permit when fishing in federal waters (3–200 nm). For permits, refer to https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call (888) 872-8862.

All non-tournament swordfish landings must be reported to NMFS within 24 hours either online at https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or by calling (800) 894-5528.

Bluefin tuna are managed in two regions; Northern, extending north from the Great Egg Inlet and Southern extending south from Great Egg Inlet. Bluefin tuna retention limits may change throughout the season. Visit https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call (888) 872-8862 or (978) 281-9260 for current information.

All recreational bluefin tuna landings must be reported to NMFS within 24 hours either online at https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or by calling (888) 872-8862.

For current federal waters regulations (3–200nm), refer to www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ or call (301) 713-2347 for swordfish/sharks or (978) 281-9260 for tunas.

Tuna, Albacore (Longfin)

Year round

None

None

Tuna, Bigeye

Year round

27″ curved fork length

None

Tuna, Bluefin

Jan. 1–Dec. 31 or until season is closed.

>27″ to <73″
curved fork length

Limits can change during the season.
Prior to departure, check https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or 888-USA-TUNA for up-to-date limits.

Tuna, Skipjack

Year round

None

None

Tuna, Yellowfin

Year round

27″ curved fork length

3 per person per trip

Sharks*

Aggregate Large Coastal Group

Hammerhead Group

Non-blacknose
Small Coastal Group

Blacknose Group

Pelagic Group

Year round

Aggregate Large Coastal and Pelagic: 54″

Hammerheads: 78″

Other listed sharks: None

For non prohibited species:
1 authorized* shark/vessel/trip
plus 1 Atlantic sharpnose and
1 bonnethead shark/person/trip

See below for list of shark groups which MAY be kept or MUST be released. Swordfish, tuna and sharks require an HMS permit when fishing in federal waters (3–200 nm). For permits, refer to https://hmspermits.noaa.gov or call (888) 872-8862. Recreational fishermen (those that do not have a limited access commercial shark permit) can not sell, barter or trade any Atlantic shark or shark pieces.

Wahoo

Year round

None

2 per person per day

For more information, contact the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council at (727) 824-5326.

Wreckfish

None

None

Prohibited

*Shark Species That May Be Kept (Authorized Species):Aggregate Large Coastal Shark—blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, tiger, spinner; Hammerhead Shark—scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, great hammerhead; Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Shark—Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, finetooth; Blacknose Shark—blacknose; Pelagic Shark—Shortfin mako, blue, porbeagle, oceanic whitetip and common thresher. Shark Species That MUST Be Released (Prohibited Species): Atlantic angel, basking, bigeye sand tiger, bigeye sixgill, bigeye thresher, bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, dusky, Galapagos, longfin mako, narrowtooth, night, sandbar, sand tiger, sevengill, silky, sixgill, smalltail, whale and white.

Regulations concerning highly migratory species (HMS) such as tuna, swordfish, shark and billfish, are subject to change. Refer to www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/ for a list of complete federal regulations for highly migratory species. For questions/clarification of the federal highly migratory species regulations, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service at (301) 713-2347 or go to www.nmfs.noaa.gov.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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