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Florida tightens rules on shore-based shark fishing

New rules set to go in effect beginning in July

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After more than a year of public debate, this month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to shark fishing regulations, including management changes for the shore-based shark fishery.

These rules are intended to increase survival of released sharks, improve information gathering for the fishery and address some of the public safety concerns related to the fishery.

The rule changes go into effect July 1, 2019, and include:

  • Creating a mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit. This permit will be required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license.
  • Requiring those under 16 to take the educational requirement associated with the permit unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit.
  • Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
  • Requiring immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore. Prohibited sharks include:
    • Atlantic angel (Squatina dumeril)
    • Basking (Cetorhinus maximus)
    • Bigeye sand tiger (Odontaspis noronhai)
    • Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai)
    • Bigeye thresher (Alopias vulpinus)
    • Bignose (Carcharhinus altimus)
    • Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezii)
    • Caribbean sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon porosus)
    • Dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus)
    • Galapagos (Carcharhinus galapagensis)
    • Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
    • Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)
    • Longfin mako (Isurus paucus)
    • Narrowtooth (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
    • Night (Carcharhinus signatus)
    • Sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
    • Sand tiger (Odontaspis taurus)
    • Scalloped hammerhead (Sphryna lewini)
    • Sevengill (Heptranchias perlo)
    • Silky (Carcharhinus falciformis)
    • Sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus)
    • Smalltail (Carcharhinus porosus)
    • Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena)
    • Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
    • Whale (Rhincodon typus)
    • White (Carcharodon carcharias)
  • Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water when fishing from shore or from a vessel.
  • Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait when fishing from shore and from a vessel.
  • Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks fishing from shore or a vessel.