Shark Limits & Identification

Bag Limit

The daily bag limit is 1 fish for all allowable shark species including Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip and bonnethead.

Gear Requirement

Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks must be used when fishing for sharks in state waters.

Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacktip and Bonnethead Sharks

Atlantic Sharpnose

Minimum size limit: 24 inches, total length

Body usually has several prominent white spots; second dorsal fin originates over midpoint of anal fin.

Atlantic Sharpnose



Minimum size limit: 24 inches, total length

Similar to spinner but first dorsal fin originates over the pectoral fins and anal fin lacks black tip.




Minimum size limit: 24 inches, total length

Rounded, shovel shaped head with no indentation at midline of snout; maximum size about 5 feet.



Hammerhead Sharks (Smooth, Great, Scalloped)

Minimum size limit: 99 inches

Other Allowable Shark Species

Minimum size limit: 64 inches

Partial list of allowable species includes:

Stocky body; no interdorsal ridge; large triangular sloping dorsal fin; bluntly rounded snout.
Fins unmarked; slender smooth teeth; color bluish-grey above and white below.
Similar to blacktip but first dorsal fin originates begin behind the pectoral fins and anal fin has black tip.
First and second triangular dorsal fins about equal in size.
Grey to black blotch on tip of snout.
Upper lobe of caudal fin extremely long and about half of total body length; similar to bigeye thresher but has no grooves on top of head and white abdominal coloring extends above pectoral fins.
Distinctive vertical blotches or stripes.
Slender body of metallic blue color.
Brown color; first dorsal fin over pelvic fins; very small eyes; barbels on each side of mouth; no distinct lower lobe on caudal fin.

More Information

Visit NMFS for additional shark identification and general information.

Visit the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for fishing regulations in Gulf of Mexico federal waters.

*Photos courtesy of Guide to Sharks, Tunas & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic & Gulf of Mexico published by NOAA & Rhode Island Sea Grant.