New regulations are in effect for recreational anglers who target highly
migratory species (HMS) in state waters and in federal waters of the Atlantic,
Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Caribbean. Highly migratory species are Atlantic
tunas (bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, and albacore), sharks, swordfish,
billfish (sailfish, spearfish, and blue and white marlin). Federal waters extend
from 3 to 200 miles on the Atlantic coast and from 9 to 200 miles on the Gulf
coast of Florida. Below are the new regulations that will affect Florida anglers.

HMS Angling Permit
Recreational anglers that target any HMS fish must purchase a federal permit.
The permit is issued to the fishing vessel, so it will cover all anglers onboard.
Anglers can apply for a permit online at or by calling
1-888-872-8862. This permit is not required for anglers fishing for billfish,
swordfish, and sharks in state waters.

HMS Reporting
Any HMS fish caught in federal waters (excluding sharks and non-bluefin
tunas) that is landed (killed and brought to shore) must be reported to NOAA
fisheries within 24 hours.
Call 1-800-894-5528 to report landings of swordfish and billfish, and
1-888-872-8862 to report bluefin tuna landings. In addition, new state
regulations require persons landing billfish and swordfish caught in state
waters to report to NOAA at the phone number above.

Swordfish Bag Limit
Anglers are now limited to 1 swordfish per person with a vessel limit of 3 per
boat, per day in both federal and state waters . Regardless of the length of the
trip, no more than the daily limit may be possessed onboard a vessel. This
bag limit includes charter boats and head boats. Swordfish harvested from
both federal and state waters must be landed in whole condition.
For more information about federal HMS regulations, visit
Yellowfin Regs

In order to land yellowfin tuna in
Florida, U.S. federal and even
international waters, your vessel must
possess a Highly Migratory Species
angling permit, available from the
National Marine Fisheries Service. Cost
is $28 for the annual vessel permit; or call (888)

This permit is also required for landing
skipjack tuna, bluefin tuna, big-eye
tuna, albacore, swordfish, marlins,
sailfish and certain pelagic sharks.

Daily bag limit for yellowfin tuna is 3
per person; minimum size is 27 inches
curved fork length. A flexible
measuring tape is stretched from the tip
of the snout, over the pectoral fin
insertion point and tight along the
curved flank to the fork of the tail.

There is no phone reporting
requirement for landings of yellowfin
tuna, as there is for bluefin, swordfish
and billfish.

In addition to the HMS permit, U.S.
anglers fishing Bahamas waters need to
possess a Bahamas vessel cruising and
fishing permit, available at Port of
Entry. Valid for two entries within a
90-day period, the permit is $150 for
vessels up to 35 feet; $350 for those
larger (cost goes up if more than 4
persons are aboard).

Yellowfin tuna limit there is 6 per
vessel (this figure includes the
aggregate count of all pelagic species,
including wahoo, dolphin and kingfish).

Do not attempt to land fish prior to
obtaining your Bahamas fishing permit.