Billfish Regulations and website links
Please follow the regulation links for the most current billfish regulations
Blue marlin | White marlin | Roundscale spearfish | Sailfish
PROHIBITED SPECIES Longbill spearfish
PERMITS AND GEARS
1. HMS Angling, OR
2. HMS Charter/Headboat, OR
3. Atlantic Tunas General category, OR Swordfish General Commercial25 ONLY if participating in a registered Atlantic HMS tournament.
Rod and reel
Billfish tournament anglers fishing with natural bait (or natural/artificial bait combination) must use non-offset circle hooks. J-hooks and offset circle hooks may only be used with artificial lures.
SIZE/BAG LIMITS AND SEASONS
* There is an annual U.S. landings limit of 250 Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish (combined). Landings updates and seasonal closures are posted at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/species/billfish/
Billfish may be gutted at sea, but must be landed whole with head, fins, and bill intact.
NOAA Fisheries strongly encourages the live release of billfishes. An Atlantic billfish that is caught but not kept must be released immediately to improve its chances of survival without removing it from the water.
Some tips for safe handling and release of billfishes:
1. Do not remove the fish from the water, even for a picture.
2. Use circle hooks and dehooking devices that hook the fish in the jaw or corner of the mouth, making it easier to remove the hook and less harmful to the fish.
3. Use heavier tackle to reduce the fight time so the fish isn’t exhausted and depleted of energy, which could add stress and contribute to death.