50 CFR 635.26 - Catch and release.
(1) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this part, a person aboard a vessel issued a permit under this part, other than a person aboard a vessel permitted in the General category on a designated RFD, may fish with rod and reel or handline gear for BFT under a catch-and-release or tag-and-release program. When fishing under a tag-and-release program, vessel owner/operators should use tags issued or approved by NMFS. If a BFT is tagged, the tag information, including information on any previously applied tag remaining on the fish, must be reported to NMFS. All BFT caught under the catch-and-release or tag-and-release programs must be returned to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury.
(2) Persons may obtain NMFS-issued conventional tags, reporting cards, and detailed instructions for their use from the NMFS Cooperative Tagging Center. Persons may use a conventional tag obtained from a source other than NMFS to tag BFT, provided the use of such tags is registered each year with the Cooperative Tagging Center and the NMFS program manager has approved the use of a conventional tag from that source. An angler using an alternative source of tags wishing to tag BFT may contact the NMFS Cooperative Tagging Center at the Southeast Fishery Science Center.
(3) An angler registering for the HMS tagging program is required to provide his or her name, address, phone number and, if applicable, the identity of the alternate source of tags.
(b)Billfish. NMFS is encouraging further catch and release of Atlantic billfish by establishing a recreational catch-and-release fishery management program, consistent with the guidance of § 600.350(c).
(c)Sharks. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this part, a person may fish for white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) with rod and reel, provided the person releases such fish to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury, and that such fish may not be removed from the water.