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North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Proclamation FF-24-2020

Marine Fisheries

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II. RECREATIONAL SEASON, SIZE AND POSSESSION LIMITS, AND HOOK AND LINE GEAR RESTRICTIONS:

SPECIES AUTHORIZED FOR RECREATIONAL HARVEST

Large Coastal Sharks (LCS)
(non-ridgeback* LCS & tiger)

Small Coastal Sharks (SCS)

Pelagic Sharks

Other

Blacktip
Bull
Hammerhead, great**
Hammerhead, scalloped**
Hammerhead, smooth**
Lemon
Nurse
Spinner
Tiger

Atlantic Sharpnose
Blacknose
Bonnethead
Finetooth

Blue
Oceanic whitetip**
Porbeagle
Shortfin mako
Thresher

Smooth dogfish (smoothhound shark)
Spiny dogfish

*Sharks that do not have an interdorsal ridge.
**Unlawful to possess these sharks while in possession of tunas, billfish or swordfish.

RECREATIONAL SIZE / BAG LIMITS and SEASONS

Species

Minimum Size (Fork Length) in Inches (“)

Trip Bag Limit/Calendar Day

Season

Atlantic sharpnose

None

1 per person of each species

Jan. 1 – Dec. 31

Bonnethead

None

Hammerheads (Great, Smooth and Scalloped)

78”

1 per vessel *OR 1 per person for shore-anglers**

Shortfin mako***

Males – 71”
Females – 83”

Non-Hammerhead Large Coastal Sharks (LCS), Non-Shortfin mako-Pelagic Sharks, Blacknose and Finetooth

54”

*For example, the cumulative total recreational catch for a vessel with three (3) fishermen is three (3) Atlantic sharpnose, and (3) bonnethead, and (1) additional shark in the recreationally permitted species list.
**For example, each shore-angler can be in possession of one (1) Atlantic sharpnose, and (1) bonnethead, and (1) additional shark from the recreationally permitted species list.
***Shortfin mako sharks have sex specific size limits, for more information on how to sex sharks go to: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/new-management-measures-mitigate-shortfin-mako-overfishing
A. It is unlawful to possess silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) and sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus) for recreational purposes.

B. It is unlawful to possess great hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, and scalloped hammerhead sharks less than 78 inches fork length. It is unlawful to possess shortfin mako sharks less than 71 inches fork length for males and 83 inches fork length for females. It is unlawful to possess non-hammerhead Large Coastal Shark species, non-shortfin mako Pelagic Shark species, blacknose sharks, and finetooth sharks less than 54 inches fork length.

C. Smooth dogfish (smoothhound shark) are exempt from harvest and size restrictions.

D. Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) are exempt from harvest and size restrictions.

E. Recreational Shore-Angler Possession Limits: It is unlawful for each angler to possess more than one (1) shark from the recreationally permitted species list per person per calendar day. One (1) Atlantic sharpnose and one (1) bonnethead may be possessed per person per calendar day, in addition to the one (1) shark from the recreationally permitted species list.

F. Recreational Vessel-Fishing Possession Limits: It is unlawful for each angler fishing from a vessel to possess more than one (1) Atlantic sharpnose and one (1) bonnethead per person per calendar day. It is unlawful to possess more than one (1) additional shark from the recreationally permitted species list aboard a vessel, per calendar day, regardless of the number of people on board the vessel.

G. It is unlawful to fish for or possess sharks (except spiny dogfish) from Coastal Waters for recreational purposes using hook and line gear with natural bait unless using a non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hook, regardless of tackle or lure configuration. Natural bait is defined as any living or dead organism (animal or plant) or parts thereof. Non-offset circle hook is defined as a hook with the point pointed perpendicularly back towards the shank and the point and barb are in the same plane as the shank. (See Diagrams)

H. It is unlawful for recreational fishermen to possess any shark without head, tail, and fins intact with the carcass through the point of landing. Anglers may still gut and bleed the carcass provided the tail is not removed. Filleting any shark is prohibited, until that shark is offloaded at the dock or on shore.

I. It is unlawful to fail to return all sharks to the water in a manner that ensures the highest likelihood of survival, except when sharks will be legally possessed.

J. It is unlawful for recreational fishermen to catch sharks by any gear other than rod and reel or handlines. Handlines are defined as a mainline with no more than two gangions or hooks attached that are retrieved by hand only.

K. It is unlawful to possess a great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead or oceanic whitetip shark while in possession of tunas, billfish or swordfish.

III. PROHIBITED SPECIES:
It is unlawful to possess any of the following shark species:

PROHIBITED SPECIES (MUST BE RELEASED)

Atlantic angel (Squatina dumerili)
Basking (Cetorhinus maximus)
Bigeye sandtiger (Odontaspis noronhai)
Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai)
Bigeye thresher (Alopias superciliosus)
Bignose (Carcharhinus altimus)
Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezii)
Caribbean sharpnose (Rhizoprionodon porosus)
Dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus)

Galapagos (Carcharhinus galapagensis)
Long fin mako (Isurus paucus)
Narrowtooth (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
Night (Carcharhinus signatu)
Sandtiger (Carcharias taurus)
Sevengill (Heptranchias perlo)
Sixgill (Hexanchus griseus)
Smalltail (Carchahrinus porosus)
Whale (Rhincodon typus)
White (Carcharodon carcharias)

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N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

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