Recreational anglers will be required to use circle hooks when fishing for sharks with natural bait in state waters beginning June 22.
The requirement pertains to all recreational fishing (including possession) using a hook and line with natural bait for any shark species, except spiny dogfish, regardless of the tackle and lure configuration. The circle hooks must be non-offset and made of a non-stainless-steel material.
A non-offset (also called inline) circle hook is 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 [portal.ncdenr.org]). Offset circle hooks and stainless-steel circle hooks are not allowed for shark fishing.
Natural bait is any living or dead organism or part of an organism (animal or plant).
The circle hook requirement complies with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Coastal Sharks Fishery Management Plan and is designed to minimize harm to sharks that are released after being caught.
State coastal waters include coastal rivers, sounds, and the ocean out to 3 miles from shore. The circle hook requirement is already in place in federal ocean waters (3 miles to 200 miles from shore).
For more specifics on the regulation, and other requirements for recreational shark fishing, see Proclamation FF-24-2020 [portal.ncdenr.org].
For more information, contact Chris Batsavage at 252-241-2995 or Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov.