PANAMA CITY — New shark fishing requirements went into effect July 1. They include a mandatory, free annual shore-based shark fishing permit and educational course. There are also other requirements that apply to all shark fishing, and fishing from the beach in general.
"Shore-based Shark-Smart Fishing," the educational course, and the shore-based permit are available online at MyFWC.com/SharkCourse.
The course must be completed before getting the permit. Users must get all 10 questions correct and will receive a unique identification code with their Certificate of Completion. To ge the permit, click “Purchase a License.”
Navigate to the Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit (unless exempt, a valid saltwater fishing license is required to get this permit.) Click “Add to Cart," and type in the ID code when prompted. Print a copy of the permit to carry with you or store your permit on the Fish|Hunt FL mobile app.
The permit is required for all anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license.
Those under 16 must take the educational course unless they are fishing with an adult who already holds the permit. Persons under 16 are not required to get the permit.
The education and permit requirements also apply for those who plan to fish from shore for any species of fish and will be:
•fishing with 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.
Other regulation changes
Other rule changes that go into effect July 1:
•prohibit chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
•require immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore and require cutting the leader or hook to prevent delaying release of prohibited species.
•require that prohibited shark species remain in the water when fishing from shore or from a vessel.
•require 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).
•requirethe possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks (when fishing from shore or a vessel).
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.”