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Atlantic Sharks Recreational Minimum Sizes and Bag Limits


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


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

Updated minimum sizes and bag limits


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


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

Fork length_shark.png

Retention Prohibited

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
  • Shortfin 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 07/13/2023