Shark fishing permit, education course required as of July 1

Northwest Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WMBB) — New shark fishing requirements take effect July 1st, including a mandatory, no-cost, annual shore-based shark fishing permit and educational course for shore-based anglers, and other requirements that apply to all shark fishing and fishing from the beach in general. 

The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older, who plan to fish from shore for any species of fish while using a metal leader more than 4 feet long, using a fighting belt/harness, deploying bait by any means other than casting (kayaking for example) while using a hook that is 1.5 inches or larger at its widest inside distance.

Those under 16 are required to take the educational course, unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit, but they are not required to get the permit.

There are several other rule changes, when fishing from shore or from a vessel, that go into effect July 1 prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach, requiring immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore and anglers to cut the leader or hook to prevent delaying release of prohibited species. It also requires that prohibited shark species remain in the water, requires the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait, and requires the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks.

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

For more, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Sharks.” To take the educational course, go to MyFWC.com/SharkCourse.

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