Atlantic Sharks Recreational Minimum Sizes and Bag Limits

Overview

Description
This summary is provided as a courtesy. Regulations are officially announced through the Federal Register.
Fishing Type
Recreational
Action Status
Final Rule
Effective
Page updated January 1, 2020
Point of Contact
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 301-427-8503

Summary

Minimum sizes and bag limits vary by permit and vessel type. Additional requirements may be applicable. View the HMS Recreational Compliance Guide for details. 

Species

Fishery Status

Minimum Size

(fork length)

Bag Limits

Atlantic sharpnose shark

Open

None

1/person/trip

Bonnethead shark

Open

None

1/person/trip

Smoothhound shark 

Open

None

None

Hammerhead*, shortfin mako, blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, spinner, tiger, blacknose, finetooth, blue, oceanic whitetip*, porbeagle**, and thresher sharks

Open

  • Hammerheads: 78” 
  • Shortfin mako: 71" males and 83" females
  • All others: 54"

1 total /vessel/trip

*Hammerahed and oceanic whitetip sharks cannot be retained if a swordfish, tuna, or billfish is on board. 
**Porbeagle sharks alive at haulback must be released unharmed if a swordfish, tuna, or billfish is on board. 

Permits

Vessels must have a valid HMS Angling or HMS Charterboat/Headboat permit to fish for Atlantic sharks. The permit covers everyone fishing on that vessel. Tournament vessels may instead fish for sharks with an Atlantic Tunas General category or Swordfish General Commercial permit. All HMS permit holders must have a shark endorsement on their permit before they can fish recreationally for sharks. 

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

  • Sandbar

  • Sand tiger

  • Sevengill

  • Silky

  • Sixgill

  • Smalltail

  • Whale

  • White

Download our Shark Identification Placard

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on 01/13/2020

Sharks