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NMFS Sets Other Recreational Regulations
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Other 2018 HMS Recreational Limits

The recreational daily swordfish retention limit is 1 fish/person, with maximums of 4 fish/private vessel, 6 for a charter vessel, and 15 for a headboat vessel. The minimum size for swordfish within the recreational fishery is 47" lower jaw-fork length. You may not keep longbill spearfish.

There are no retention limits for Atlantic sailfish, blue marlin and white marlin, but NMFS encourages recreational anglers to release all billfish alive.

The minimum sizes for billfish are as follows:

Blue Marlin: 99" lower jaw fork length;

White Marlin and Round scale spearfish: 66" lower jaw fork length;

Sailfish: 63" lower jaw fork length;

Longbill Spearfish: Retention prohibited.

Lower jaw fork length is a straight line measurement from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the caudal fin.

There are a total of 21 prohibited shark species that vessel operators should be able to identify (see compliance guide for details).

For recreationally-caught sharks, retention of ridgeback sharks other than tiger or smooth dogfish (and oceanic whitetip in certain circumstances) is prohibited.

Recreational shark limit: 1 shark/vessel/trip with a minimum size of 54" fork length (78" for hammerheads); plus 1 Atlantic sharpnose shark/person/trip (no min. size); plus 1 bonnethead/person/trip (no min. size).

There is no retention or size limit for smoothhound sharks (smooth dogfish, Florida smoothhound, and Gulf smoothhound).


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