NEW: WORKSHOPS SCHEDULED. After listening to public comments on and discussing the current and future management of sharks in Florida at the April meeting in Fort Lauderdale, the FWC directed staff to continue to stay engaged on all shark-related issues and to pursue development of draft regulations for shore-based shark fishing. The FWC understands this is an issue that is important to the public, especially those who have had negative interactions, and we want to work toward finding solutions. Staff is in the process of planning public meetings on the topic and is gathering public input on development of draft regulations that will be brought back to a future Commission meeting. To comment, visit

Blacktip sharkSharks

New: Shortfin Mako Emergency Interim Action:   

Fishermen that hold an HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit and fishermen that hold a Atlantic Tunas General category and Swordfish General Commercial permits when participating in a registered HMS tournament may only land a shortfin mako shark if the shark meets the minimum size of 83 inches fork length. For more information, see the NOAA Fisheries releaseExternal Website

Anglers fishing in Florida state waters without any of the above listed permits may still land a shortfin mako with the 54 inch fork length minimum size limit.

 Be a shark-smart angler. Check out our shark-smart fishing guidelines.

Harvestable sharks fall into the following two groups of species:


Group 1 sharks (12 species) have no minimum size limit and include: 

Group 2 sharks (8 species) have a 54 inch (fork length) minimum size limit and include:

Bag and vessel limits for Group 1 and Group 2 sharks: The daily bag limit is one shark per person per day and there is an overlapping vessel limit of two sharks. This means that the maximum number of sharks that can be retained from a vessel is two sharks even if more than two anglers are on board.

Group 3 sharks are prohibited from harvest in state waters and include:

For regulations on rays, visit the Unregulated Species page. Harvest of manta ray and spotted eagle ray is prohibited. For yellow stingrays, visit the Marine Life species page.


Federal HMS Permit Holders in state waters: Effective Jan. 1,2018 all HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit holders that wish to recreationally fish for and/or retain sharks are required to add a Shark Endorsement to their permit. To obtain this endorsement, permit holders need to complete an online shark identification and fishing regulation training courseExternal Website Additionally, all HMS permit holders are required to use non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for sharks recreationally south of south of 41° 43’ N latitude (near Chatham, Massachusetts - the northern extent of the dusky shark’s U.S. Atlantic range), except when fishing with flies or artificial lures. For more information, see NOAA Fisheries releaseExternal Website 

Gear Requirements

Lemon Shark aggregation

Hook and line only. Use of natural bait when using multiple hooks is prohibited.

Landing in Whole Condition Requirements

All sharks that are retained for use must remain in whole condition with heads, tails and fins attached until landed. Gilling and evisceration while on waters or in a fishing location is allowed.

Can I feed sharks and other fish?

Shark-Smart Fishing

Help released sharks survive. Fish safe and Shark-Smart!

Shark survival: why it’s important

Sharks are apex predators that play an important role in marine ecosystems. Releasing sharks in a way that increases their chance of survival is an important step toward achieving and maintaining healthy, sustainable shark populations.

Prohibited species: Know before you go!

Negative shark encounters

Not every encounter with a shark is intentional or wanted. Sharks have been known to take fish off the line and even bite boat motors. These negative shark interactions are an unfortunate side effect of healthy and sustainable shark populations. While it may be unfavorable, the best way to avoid negative interactions with sharks is to move to another area and away from where shark activity is occurring. 

Shark-Smart tackle

Proper tackle is the first step in responsible catch-and-release shark fishing.

Shark-Smart handling and release

Sharks are powerful animals. Ensure the safety of both the angler and the shark by handling and releasing Shark-Smart.


Location, location, location!

Fish Shark-Smart from a boat:

Fish Shark-Smart from the shore:

Fish Shark-Smart from a pier:


Sawfish are federally listed as endangered. Do not intentionally target, harass or unnecessarily handle a sawfish. Hooked sawfish should be released as quickly as possible.

Is that shark tagged?

More information

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