Responsible Fishing

Part of the excitement of recreational fishing is not knowing what you will encounter. That is why it is important to be prepared for various situations because being a responsible angler doesn’t end with knowing regulations.

Best Practices

Fish & Photos

Legal fish and photographs are the only two things you’re allowed to take with you! Remember to practice Leave No Trace principles.

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Stash Your Trash

Marine debris is not only a hazard to navigation, it kills! Secure everything onboard until you can recycle or dispose of your trash properly.

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Barbless is Best

Non-offset, non-stainless steel, barbless circle hooks are easier to remove, quicker to self-shed, and minimize injury to you, your catch, and other protected species.

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Look Out for Your Hook

Always keep an eye on your gear so that you can prevent and respond quickly to accidental hookings. Before casting, always scan your surroundings for people, birds, and other obstacles that may cross your line.

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Instead of Lead

Lead tackle is harmful to wildlife. When possible, replace lead jigs with other sinker substitutes such as tungsten, steel, or tin.

Wear Shades

Wearing polarized sunglasses on a sunny day allows you to better spot animals and obstacles in the water.

Wildlife Stewardship

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Give it a Minute

Wait to cast your line or move to a new area if a sea turtle or marine mammal is in the area.

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Steer Clear

Slow down and maneuver your vessel behind or around wildlife and spawning beds.

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Keep Unwanted Guests Away

Clean, drain, and dry your hull and equipment and dispose of unwanted bait in the trash to prevent the spread of invasive species. Only use live bait that are native to your fishing ground.

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Keep'Em Wild

DO NOT feed wildlife or release your catch when fish or wildlife are nearby. Keeping them wild helps prevent detrimental encounters with humans and vessels in the future.

a sea turtle

If you are fishing in sea turtle territory, check and recast your gear often to relocate a baited hook from a curious turtle. If you hook one, call your local stranding network and follow these instructions.

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Bird Watch

Birds may swoop down to snack on your live bait, putting them at risk of being hooked or entangled in your line. If that happens, follow these instructions.

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Call the Experts

Report marine animal emergenciesto NOAA at: 888-256-9840

Do Your Part

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Watch your Wake

Comply with regulations, posted speed limits, and pole through seagrass beds. Stay 200 feet from other boaters and keep your wake size in check.

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Moore Secure

Use mooring buoys when provided and never anchor in a coral bed. Learn how to use mooring buoys correctly.

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Rules of the Road

Remember that non-motorized vessels have the right-of-way over motorized ones, and that slower boats should keep to the right.

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Consider your Emissions

Properly maintain your boat and check your prop often in order to maximize operation efficiency and avoid burning excess fuel.

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Speak Up

If you encounter other fishers not following regulations or responsible recreation guidelines, speak up. Encourage them to do their part as stewards of these precious waters.

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Lead by Example

Millions of people visit national marine sanctuaries each year. Your actions help to set a tone for visitors in years to come!

Helpful Links