State and Federal Permit Requirements
- All New York anglers must apply for and carry the no fee Recreational Marine Fishing Registry.
- To fish for sharks, tuna, billfishes, and swordfish in federal waters, anglers must apply for a federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Permit. All HMS permits are vessel-based permits. For more specific information about the rules associated with the HMS permit, please review the HMS Compliance Guide for Recreational Fishing.
- For shark fishing limits and a complete list of prohibited shark species, visit Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations.
New York State Law and federal regulations require the use of non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks when using baited hooks for sharks. These rules apply when fishing in both state and federal waters; and apply to all tournament anglers.
Circle hooks reduce incidents of deep hooking and increase survival rates of released sharks.
Non-stainless steel hooks deteriorate over time in saltwater, reducing harm to a fish if you are unable to retrieve the hook. A circle hook's point is turned back toward the shank, forming a semi-circle shape. This shape causes the circle hook to lodge in a shark's mouth instead of other vulnerable areas such as its throat or gut. J-hooks are more likely to be swallowed and damage a shark's internal organs.
It is unlawful for a recreational angler to take or to possess shark species which are not listed in 6 NYCRR Section 40.7(c)(1). These species are referred to as "prohibited" shark species for recreational fishing. These rules were implemented in 2010 and are consistent with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA Fisheries fishery management plans for Coastal Sharks.
"Take" is defined in New York's Environmental Conservation Law Section 11-0103 (13) and includes pursuing, killing, and capturing sharks. It also includes all lesser acts such as disturbing, harrying, or worrying, or using any device commonly used to take sharks.
- Any angler who is making an effort to catch a prohibited shark species is pursuing or targeting that species in violation of 6 NYCRR 40.7(c)(1).
- Do not fish for or target prohibited sharks in New York waters. Intentional catch and release of prohibited sharks is likewise illegal.
- If a prohibited shark is hooked, the angler must release the prohibited shark immediately and in a manner that maximizes the shark's chance of survival.
- Do not tag prohibited sharks or delay release to take pictures.
- Participating in NOAA's Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP) as a volunteer does not exempt you from New York State laws and regulations. NOAA requires CSTP volunteers to follow all local, state and federal rules.
- Prohibited shark species found in New York State waters include Sandbar ("Brown"), Dusky, and Sand Tiger sharks. Large (non-dogfish) sharks that are caught from shore in New York are usually a prohibited shark species. Prohibited shark species may also be encountered by boat-based anglers in nearshore waters.
- Other examples of prohibited shark species found in New York State waters include Basking and White sharks.
- For a full list of all prohibited shark species, view Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations.
- Download and review the NOAA Fisheries Shark Identification Placard and Prohibited Shark Identification Placard before going shark fishing. Remember, "If you don't know, let it go!"
Conservation of Prohibited Species
There are concerns about the conservation status of New York's prohibited shark species. Dusky and sand tiger sharks are both listed as "High Priority Species of Greatest Conservation Need" in the New York State Wildlife Action Plan. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed sandbar and dusky sharks as "endangered" species and sand tiger sharks as "critically endangered" due to population declines and long expected recovery times. Additionally, both sand tiger and dusky shark are listed as "species of concern" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) which indicates their populations are declining or appear to need conservation actions.
Prohibited shark species are particularly vulnerable due to a combination of factors which include:
- Exceptionally low productivity rates.
- Very slow growth and late maturity.
- Long gestation periods.
- Vulnerability to fishing gear at varying life stages.
- Species may be experiencing overfishing. Sharks may be removed from a species population at a greater rate than the stock can reproduce and replace the sharks that were removed.
- Species may be overfished. Species may have a low biomass throughout their range, impacting their reproductive capacity to replace sharks that have been removed.
The prohibited status gives these species the protection they need from fishing to maintain and rebuild their populations.