Shark Watch is a citizen’s initiative established to keep Florida’s beachgoers safe and protect sharks by monitoring activities of shore-based shark fishers and reporting any dangerous and illegal activity to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The FWC has over 850 officers in charge of regulating 8,400 miles of coastline, 13,200 square miles of offshore waters, and more than 34 million acres of land. Our Shark Watch Program provides FWC law enforcement with much-needed support and encourages local communities to get involved with monitoring and protecting their beaches, beachgoers, and marine life.
Starting July 1, 2019, the new rules and regulations go into effect regarding shore-based shark fishing.
“law without enforcement is just good advice.” - Abraham Lincoln
During phase one of our Shark Watch program, we need volunteers to help hand out flyers and inform the public of the new shore-based shark fishing rules and report violations to FWC Law Enforcement.
***All Shark Watch volunteers must be well versed in the shore-based shark fishing rules.
They must also operate in compliance with the law.***
Shark Watch Protocol
Observe from a distance.
Take photographs and videos.
Call the FWC tip line with the details of the situation. Be sure to know which laws are being broken and report them accordingly. 888-404-FWCC
For our records please send us the case # and all acquired documentation.
Violations To Report
If they don't use non-offset circle hooks. This means a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point is not offset and is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a general circular or oval shape.
If they don't have cutting devices. A person targeting or harvesting sharks from Florida Waters must have in his or her possession at least one device capable of quickly cutting either the leader or the hook used. A person catching but not retaining a shark must quickly remove the hook or use such cutting device to quickly remove as much tackle and fishing gear as possible in order to release the shark immediately without unnecessary harm.
Is the shark they caught a prohibited species?
A person may not remove a prohibited species from Florida Waters.
Prohibited shark species must remain in the water with the gills submerged when fishing from shore or from a vessel, and prohibited shark species must be released without delay when fishing from the shore. If hook removal will delay release, cut the hook or the leader as close to the hook as possible.
Prohibited Shark Species shall include (Sharks in bold are more commonly caught and targeted):
1. Atlantic angel shark.
2. Basking shark.
3. Bigeye sand tiger.
4. Bigeye sixgill shark.
5. Bigeye thresher.
6. Bignose shark.
7. Bluntnose sixgill shark.
8. Caribbean reef shark.
9. Caribbean sharpnose shark.
10. Dusky shark.
11. Galapagos shark.
12. Great hammerhead.
13. Lemon shark.
14. Longfin mako.
15. Narrowtooth shark.
16. Night shark.
17. Sandbar shark.
18. Sand tiger.
19. Scalloped hammerhead.
20. Sharpnose sevengill shark.
21. Silky shark.
22. Smalltail shark.
23. Smooth hammerhead.
24. Spiny dogfish.
25. Tiger shark.
26. Whale shark.
27. White shark.
28. Largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis).
29. Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata).
30. Manta ray (species of the genera Manta and Mobula).
31. Spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari)
Does the shark caught meet the size limit requirements?
A person may not harvest or land from Florida Waters, or possess in or on Florida Waters, a shark that is less than 54 inches fork length, with the exception of the following species, for which there shall be no minimum size limit:
(a) Atlantic sharpnose shark.
(b) Blacknose shark.
(c) Blacktip shark.
(e) Finetooth shark.
(f) Smoothhound sharks.
Questions To Ask Law Enforcement
Do the shark fishermen have fishing licenses and a shark fishing permit?
Shore-based shark fishing permit – A person may not participate in shore-based shark fishing unless such person has been issued and is in possession of a valid Commission-issued shore-based shark fishing permit. A person who is under 16 years of age is exempt from the shore-based shark fishing permit requirement.
Did the shark fishermen complete the mandatory shore-based shark fishing course provided by the FWC?
A person may not participate in shore-based shark fishing unless such person has been issued and is in possession of a valid Commission-issued shore-based shark fishing permit. A person who is under 16 years of age is exempt from the shore-based shark fishing permit requirement.
Be sure to ask FWC Law enforcement/ Local Law Enforcement Officers for their names/badge numbers and a case number for follow-up.
Fish Kill Hotline
If you see a dead shark call the Fish Kill Hotline at (800)-636-0511.
How You Can Help
Get your local municipalities involved with Shark Watch.
Install a Shark Watch sign on your private beach-front property.
Like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/saveflsharks/.
Raise awareness about shore-based shark fishing and the newly implemented rules.