Stay connected with us
around the nation »

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for FishNews


Federal Regulations for Atlantic HMS Tournaments

HMS tournaments are required to register and report to NOAA Fisheries, and to follow these regulations during the event:

Angler Permits

Vessels fishing in Atlantic HMS Tournaments must have one of the following HMS permits, available from the HMS Permits Shop.

  1. HMS Angling
  2. HMS Charter/Headboat
  3. Atlantic Tunas General (Commercial)*
  4. Swordfish General (Commercial)*

*If a vessel has one or both of these permits, the passengers must always follow the restrictions (minimum size, bag limit, season, etc.) for the authorized species of the permit(s) held. These permits also authorize recreational fishing for other HMS only if fishing in a registered HMS tournament, and passengers must follow Angling permit restrictions (minimum size, bag limit, season, etc.) for those HMS during the event.

General Restrictions

All Atlantic HMS recreational fishing regulations apply to Atlantic HMS tournament participants.  Permit requirements and restrictions, size limits, bag limits, gear restrictions, possession restrictions, and more are in the HMS Recreational Compliance Guide.

Billfish & Swordfish Tournaments

Any tournament that awards points or prizes for the catch & release or landing of sailfish, white marlin, blue marlin, longbill spearfish (landing prohibited), or roundscale spearfish, is a billfish tournament.  

Circle Hook Anglers fishing with natural bait (or natural/artificial combination bait) may only use non-offset circle hooks in billfish tournaments. Anglers may only use J-hooks in billfish tournaments if they are fishing with artificial lures.

All billfish and swordfish tournaments are selected for catch reporting, including "catch & release" tournaments. See Report Tournament Catch for instructions.