Fishing regulations in Panama

Panama is a top-rated fishing destination. Logically, there are a lot of questions about the fishing regulations and what you can do while you are here. Don’t worry; we want to help you navigate through all the details you should know before booking your fishing trip in Panama.

Do I need a Fishing License to go Fishing in Panama?

The quick answer is NO. As a tourist or resident, you need no personal fishing license to go sport fishing. This means you won’t need to apply for a permit when you arrive. Even though Panama’s Maritime Authority highly regulates the fishing industry, the vessels are the ones that need to be registered and up to date with all the documentation. Just remember to bring your ID with you on your charter.

Turtles are off-limits

Turtles are protected in Panama, and they often use our beaches as nesting grounds. It is illegal to endanger, bait, fish, or catch turtles in Panama. There are heavy fines for those caught breaking the law in any way.

We Don’t Kill Bill Fish

Just to let you know, these regulations are in place to protect marine biodiversity. The law in Panama protects billfish and prohibits anyone from killing them. This includes Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, White Marlin, Spearfish, Sailfish, and Swordfish. You can still fish for them, but we only do “Catch and Release.”

No industrial operations

Panamanian law prohibits long-line vessels weighing over six tons from fishing in our waters. This protects the native species and is a good indicator that you will find more fish to catch during your offshore fishing charter.

Fishing seasons

There are no season regulations for catching most fish in Panama. And there is no limit to how many fish you can catch. However, these are also protected during reproductive times to prevent the overfishing of shrimp and lobster. Shrimp season is between February 1 and April 11 and September 1 to October 11. The lobster season goes from March 1 to July 1.

Shark Fishing

It is not very common to fish for sharks, although it is possible. Nevertheless, the Panamanian maritime authority has started policing fishermen who cut the fin and throw the shark back into the ocean. There is no law to protect sharks yet, but we recommend not doing this.

Spear Fishing

There are no regulations or restrictions on this recreational activity. However, we advise that you only attempt it with the guidance of professionals.

Freshwater Fishing

The only freshwater fishing is in Lake Gatún. You will find a variety of animals during your fishing trip, try to not disrupt their environment.

Panama means an abundance of fish and butterflies.

Fishing is a popular local sport, and Panama is a world-class destination for professional and amateur anglers worldwide. Piñas Bay has over 300 fishing records (more than any other location in the world). Many records are made or broken in Panama, so this is definitely the place to be if you want an authentic fishing experience.

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