Panama is one of the top destinations in the entire world for sport fishing, but to keep it this way, regulations are in place for conservation and safety. Panama fishing regulations are stricter than in other Central American countries because of the high value that our government and anglers put on the future sustainability of our ocean waters.
If you have planned a trip with us for sport fishing in Panama, we’ll handle all the regulation details so you can simply relax and enjoy your vacation. But fishing rules are still important to know so that you understand our protocols and can do your part to protect the beautiful environment we call home.
Here is an overview of Panama fishing regulations to prepare for your upcoming sport fishing trip.
No Personal Fishing License Is Required
If you travel to Panama for vacation, you do not need to obtain your own personal fishing license. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about applying for any license or permit before your trip or when you arrive in Panama.
Fishing Boats Require Permits
Although you do not need to have a fishing license as an individual, the boat you are on requires a valid permit. We will handle the boat permits for you so that if we happen to be pulled over by maritime authorities in the Gulf of Chiriquí or Hannibal Bank, we’ll have everything necessary for a safety inspection.
No Killing Bill Fish
Since a law was passed in 1997, billfish have been protected in Panama. The law prohibits anyone from killing billfish, which includes the following species: Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, White Marlin, Spearfish, Sailfish, and Swordfish. On our boats, you can still fish for these species but only by catch-and-release. Our company practices catch-and-release of all billfish and roosterfish, and we only keep the other fish we catch if we intend to eat them.
No Large Industrial Operations
Panamanian law prohibits the export of billfish and long-lining operations to protect native species. Since 2010, a law has been in place that keeps long-line vessels weighing over six tons out of our waters. This is good news for tourist sport fishing groups because the lack of overfishing for commercial purposes leaves more fish for us to catch offshore for fun!
Leave Turtles in the Water
Turtles are protected in Panama, and they often use our shores as nesting grounds. It is illegal to fish, bait, or catch turtles in our country.
Seasons for Shrimp and Lobster
There are no specific season regulations for catching most fish in Panama. But to prevent the overfishing of shrimp and lobster, shrimp seasons are only between February 1 and April 11 and between September 1 to October 11. Lobster season runs from March 1 to July 1.
If you have questions about Panama fishing regulations or sport fishing in Panama more generally, please contact us at 866-245-1492 or [email protected].