Tournament operators must register with NOAA Fisheries, keep records of anglers and results, and will be notified if they must send a catch report after the event. All billfish tournaments must send a catch report.
Register a tournament online
View a list of registered 2017 tournaments
Hard copy registration form (PDF, 1 page).
NOAA Fisheries selects certain tournaments for catch reporting. If selected, tournament operators are responsible for reporting all HMS catch (landed and released) within a week after the tournament ends by reporting catch online.
Report catch online
If a tournament awards points or prizes for catching or landing white marlin, blue marlin, sailfish, longbill spearfish (landing prohibited), roundscale spearfish, or swordfish, the tournament is required to submit a catch report to NOAA Fisheries.
You may also download and submit a catch report form.
Submit the completed form to:
75 Virginia Beach Drive
Miami, FL 33149
Fax: (305) 361-4562
HMS tournaments are required to register and report to NOAA Fisheries, and to follow these regulations:
Vessels fishing in Atlantic HMS Tournaments must have one of the following HMS permits, available from the HMS Permits Shop.
Atlantic Tunas General (Commercial)*
Swordfish General (Commercial)*
*Anglers aboard these vessels must always follow the commercial restrictions (minimum size, bag limit, season, etc.) for the authorized species of the permit(s) held. Recreational fishing for other HMS is authorized only if fishing in a registered HMS tournament, and passengers must follow Angling permit restrictions (minimum sizes, bag limits, seasons, etc.) for those HMS during the event.
All Atlantic HMS recreational fishing regulations apply to Atlantic HMS tournament anglers. Permit requirements and restrictions, size limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, possession restrictions, and more are in the HMS Recreational Compliance Guide. All state regulations must be followed, including those that are more restrictive.
Any tournament that awards points or prizes for the catch & release or landing of sailfish, white marlin, blue marlin, longbill spearfish (landing prohibited), or roundscale spearfish, is a billfish tournament.
All billfish and swordfish tournaments are selected for catch reporting, including "catch & release" tournaments. See Tournament Catch Reporting above for instructions.
Anglers fishing with natural bait (or natural/artificial combination bait) must only use non-offset circle hooks in billfish tournaments. Anglers may only use J-hooks in billfish tournaments if they are fishing with artificial lures.
Any bluefin tuna that is landed or released dead must be reported by the permit holder or designee through the HMS Permit Catch Reporting page or (888) 872-8862 within 24 hours of returning to the dock, regardless of the recreational trip being private, for-hire, or tournament.
NOAA Fisheries provides educational outreach materials to registered Atlantic HMS tournaments upon request. Outreach may be requested during registration or by contacting the HMS Management Division.
This compliance guide is a plain-language summary of the recreational fishing regulations for sharks, tunas, billfish, and swordfish. Includes HMS permit requirements, minimum sizes, bag limits, seasons, and more.
The careful catch and release brochure provides tips on handling and releasing large saltwater pelagic fish in a way that minimizes injury and maximizes their chances of recovery.
This brochure provides guidance on alerting to and avoiding right whales to prevent collisions.
Laminated Cast with Care wallet cards and stickers contain tips to avoid harmful interactions between marine life and recreational fishing gear, as well as important phone numbers to report an injured or entangled dolphin, sea turtle, or sawfish.
This shark identification placard is intended for recreational fishing, is printed on waterproof paper, and includes diagrams for identification of sharks legal for retention.
This prohibited shark identification placard is intended for recreational fishing, is printed on waterproof paper, and includes diagrams for identification of prohibited sharks.
Because shortfin mako sharks are experiencing overfishing, NOAA Fisheries encourages fishermen to release them alive and has developed a free smart phone app that fishermen can use to report live releases of shortfin makos. The app includes an interactive map that lets you view all of the reported releases in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen can also report mako shark releases on the mako shark website. This postcard also gives recommendations and tips for the identification and live release of shortfin mako sharks.
This one-page swordfish and billfish identification guide shows the differences between swordfish, sailfish, blue marlin, longbill spearfish, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish. NOAA Fisheries encourages tournament operators and anglers to know the differences between white marlin and roundscale spearfish; two species that are very similar in appearance.
This one-page tunas identification guide shows the differences between albacore, blackfin tuna, Atlantic bonito, skipjack, little tunny, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, and bluefin tuna.
Instructional DVD created by the North Carolina Sea Grant, and free by order from through Sea Grant or by request from the Atlantic HMS Management Division.
Excerpts from the video: About the Circle Hook | Rigging a Ballyhoo