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Atlantic Sharks Commercial Minimum Sizes and Retention Limits

Overview

Description
This summary is provided as a courtesy. Regulations are officially announced through the Federal Register.
Fishing Type
Commercial
Action Status
Final Rule
Published
Page updated January 7, 2021
Point of Contact
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 301-427-8503

Summary

Retention limits vary by permit type and species complex. Additional requirements may be applicable. View the HMS Commercial Compliance Guide for details. 

Atlantic Shark Directed Permit

Species Complex

Fishery Status

Minimum Size

Retention Limit

Aggregated large coastal sharks and hammerhead sharks—Atlantic

Open

None

On March 23, 2021, increased from 36 to 55/vessel/trip, other than sandbar sharks, for 2021 season

Aggregated large coastal sharks and hammerhead sharks—Eastern Gulf of Mexico   Open None 45/vessel/trip other than sandbar sharks
Aggregated large coastal sharks and hammerhead sharks—Western Gulf of Mexico  Closed for 2021 season None 45/vessel/trip other than sandbar sharks
Blacktip—Western Gulf of Mexico Open None 45/vessel/trip other than sandbar sharks

Small coastal sharks

Open

None

  • Blacknose sharks (Atlantic region only): 8/vessel/trip
  • All others: No limit

Pelagic sharks

Open

None

No limit

Atlantic Shark Incidental Permit

Species Complex

Fishery Status

Minimum Size

Retention Limit

Large coastal sharks—all regions

Open

None

3/vessel/trip

Small coastal sharks

Open

None

16 combined small coastal and pelagic sharks/vessel/trip with no more than 8 blacknose sharks/vessel/trip

Pelagic sharks

Open

None

16 combined pelagic and small coastal sharks/vessel/trip with no more than 8 blacknose sharks/vessel/trip

HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat Permit

This fishery is open. There are no minimum size requirements for authorized sharks under this permit. The retention limits are as follows:

Authorized Species

Fishery Status

Minimum Size

Retention Limit

Tiger, bull, blacktip, spinner, lemon, Atlantic sharpnose, finetooth, bonnethead, and smoothounds sharks

Open

None

3 combined sharks / vessel / trip

Commercial Smoothhound Shark Permit

This fishery is open. There are no minimum size requirements or retention limits for smoothhound sharks. 

Permit

To commercially harvest Atlantic sharks or retain sharks on a for-hire trip, vessel owners must obtain a valid Atlantic Shark Directed or Shark Incidental limited access permit or a Smoothhound Shark open access permit. 

Buy or renew a permit 

Measurement

Measure fork length in a straight line from the snout to the fork of the tail. 

Fork length_shark.png

Illustration by Diane Rome Peebles. 

Prohibited Species

The following are prohibited species and must be released with minimal injury and without removing it from the water: 

  • Atlantic angel

  • Basking

  • Bigeye sand tiger

  • Bigeye sixgill

  • Bigeye thresher

  • Bignose

  • Caribbean reef

  • Caribbean sharpnose

  • Dusky

  • Galapagos

  • Longfin mako

  • Narrowtooth

  • Night

  • Sand tiger

  • Sevengill

  • Sixgill

  • Smalltail

  • Whale

  • White

Download our Shark Identification Placard

More Information

More information can be found on the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Landings Updates page. 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 07/26/2021