The Department of Environment would like to remind the public of the National Conservation Law rules that are in place with regards to hook and line fishing from shore or on a boat. There are minimum size restrictions in place which means that only fish longer than eight inches (8” or 20cm) nose-to-tail may be kept; however there are a few exceptions to this and there are species that may not be taken at all.
Nassau Grouper cannot be taken from 1st December through 30th April. Outside of that time there is a catch limit of five (5) per person or five per boat per day, whichever is less and only Nassau Grouper that are between 16 inches and 24 inches (inclusive) in length may be taken. It is illegal to catch, purchase, receive or possess Nassau Grouper from Cayman waters that would break any of the above rules. A Nassau Grouper that is unintentionally caught and is in contravention to any of these rules will need to be released. DoE also encourages the use of circle hooks as these reduce the chance of hooking a fish in the gut or gills and allows it to be release relatively unharmed.
The following species are completely protected and may not be taken at any time: Goliath Grouper (Jew fish), Tilefish (whities), Filefish (pipers) and Angelfish, including Grey, French and Queen Angels (old monks), sharks and rays (Stingray, Eagle, Manta etc.). It is illegal to feed, attempt to feed, or provide or use food to attract any shark.
Echinoderms (includes starfish, sea eggs/urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars), chitons, periwinkles and bleeding teeth may not be taken at any time.
The following species of fish which are generally smaller than 8 inches may be taken provided all other rules such as catch limits, fishing gear restrictions and prohibitions on taking in certain locations are followed: Goggle eyes; Sprats (herrings, anchovies); and Fries (including loggerhead and fine fry; silversides or anchovies).
In addition, persons fishing from a boat will need to be aware of the rules that apply in their particular location and the easiest way to do this is by downloading the DoE’s Public App and using the Map feature (with location services on your phone turned on). The App is available from either the Apple App or Google Play stores (https://doe.ky/resources/doe-phone-apps/). All of the seasons and catch and size limits above may also be found in this App. Please note that the reporting functions on the app are disabled so use the contact information below instead.
For questions about other conservation issues or rules please email DoE@gov.ky and we will respond as soon as possible. Alternatively, please contact our Conservation Officers directly: Grand Cayman: 916-4271 or 916 5849, Cayman Brac: 926-0136, or Little Cayman: 925-0185. Lastly, please use one of our Fishing Line Recycle Bins located at most public docks and launching ramps to dispose of any damaged or discarded fishing line.