Planning to fish for sharks in Sebastian? New fishing requirements

A shark caught near the Sebastian Inlet State Park.
A shark caught near the Sebastian Inlet State Park.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has announced new shark fishing requirements that will go into effect July 1, 2019.

The requirements include a mandatory, no-cost, annual Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit and educational course for shore-based anglers, all shark fishing, and fishing from the beach in general near Sebastian.

The Shore-based Shark-Smart Fishing educational course and Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit are now available online. To take the educational course, which must be completed before getting the permit, visit MyFWC.com/SharkCourse.

The permit is required for all shore-based shark anglers age 16 and older, including those 65 and older who are normally exempt from needing a fishing license.

Those under 16 are required to 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 if you 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.

Several other rule changes go into effect July 1, including:

  • Prohibiting chumming when fishing for any species from the beach.
  • Requiring immediate release of prohibited shark species when fishing from the shore and requiring anglers to cut the leader or hook to prevent delaying release of prohibited species.
  • Requiring that prohibited shark species remain in the water (when fishing from shore or from a vessel).
  • Requiring 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).
  • Requiring the 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 the Sharks Recreational Regulations page at FWC.

Make sure you take the required Shark-Smart Fishing educational course before July 1, 2019 to receive your permit.

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About Andy Hodges
Andy Hodges grew up in Jupiter, Florida where he began his career in radio and TV broadcasting for over 12 years. He would make a career change to computer programming. Andy spent seven years working for tech companies in Atlanta before moving to Indian River County in 2002. He returned to the news sector in 2005 as a writer. Andy joined Sebastian Daily in 2016 as our editor in chief.