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SALTWATER FISHING REGULATIONS IN FLORIDA


Unlike the UK fishing scene, sea fishing in Florida is subjected to many regulations most of which the UK would be sensible to adopt.

First of all to fish in the sea you must have a fishing license. There are some exemptions.

Licenses are available from the county tax collector offices and many bait & tackle shops. For Charter Boats, the license is included in the Charter fee. You can also purchase licenses over the internet.

License costs are shown in the table below. PLEASE NOTE: We try to keep this information up to date. However it is the anglers responsibility to have the correct license if applicable.

 

Florida Resident Licenses 2016
One-year License shore fishing only FREE
One-year License watercraft and shore line only $17.00
Five-year License $79.00
Combination Licenses (Florida Residents Only)  
Fishing-Saltwater/Freshwater $32.50
Fishing-Saltwater/Freshwater & Hunting $48.00
One-year Gold Sportsman's License $100.00
One-year Miltary Gold Sportsman's License $20.00
Lifetime Saltwater Fishing License  
Age:0-4 years $126.50
Age:5-12 years $226.50
Age:13 or older $301.50
Lifetime Sportman's License  
Age:0-4 years $401.50
Age:5-12 years $701.50
Age:13 or older $1001.50
Non-Resident Licenses  
Three-Day License $17.00
Seven-Day License $30.00
One-Year License $47.00
Additional Privilege Permit  
Snook Permit $10.00
5 year Snook Permit (Florida residents only) $50.00
Spiny Lobster permit $5.00
5 year Spiny lobster permit (Florida residents only) $25.00
Tarpon Tag $51.50
VESSEL  LICENSES are required for all vessels
that charge a fee to take passengers out to catch marine
fish.
 
Eleven or more customers $801.50
Ten or less customers $401.50
Four or fewer customers $201.50

Updated January 2016

If you are not required to buy a license, you are not required to buy permits.

FLORIDA has basic Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations to aid conservation so that species are not over fished. That means basically that most species other than baitfish are regulated in some manner.

For some species there are closed seasons when the species may not be captured at all. Most other species have size limits which may be a minimum size or even a maximum size. There may also be a slot limit to which certain species may be taken.

All these regulations are designed to ensure that the species are not over fished and bag limits are given for most species. Unlike the UK you cannot go freezer fishing here! The accent is on sport fishing for pleasure with the added benefit that you have a few fish for the table.

So a word of warning. If you go fishing from the shore make sure you have a license if applicable and secondly that you have a copy of the current fishing regulations if you intend to keep fish for the table. Certain fish like Tarpon also require the angler to purchase a TARPON TAG should you wish to keep the fish. You have to purchase that before you go Tarpon Fishing!

One other detail you should be aware of, which is very different to the UK. If you go fishing in a boat, it is illegal to fillet or gut fish at sea. Fish must remain in a whole condition until landed ashore (head & tails intact). The reason for this is, if the Fisheries Patrol or Marine Police may wish to examine your catch so they can be measured for size! Yes, this really happens and policing is good.

Florida .............the Fishing Capital of the World!
Here are some of the statistics of 1997 to support that claim

  • 723 of the 4.549 world records are from Florida as listed by the International Game Fish Association. This is far greater than any other state or country.

  • Florida ranks first in the country for number of people who fish in salt water (2.255,171) This is more than double any other state in the U.S. alone.

  • Florida ranks first in the country for number of days anglers spend fishing in salt water (25,139,988) This too is more than double any other state in the U.S.

  • Over three times more non resident angler trips are taken in Florida than in any other state (2.8 million)

  • Florida ranks first in the country in boating purchases such as boats ($760,000,000), outboard Motors($404,522,000), boat trailers($23,584,000) and miscellaneous marine accessories($221,479,000)

  • Florida has over 2,100 marina's, ranking it 1st in the country

  • Has the largest number of artificial reefs in the US

  • Has the largest number of artificial reefs in the world

  • Has the largest number of man made wreck sites. (Wrecks sunk deliberately)

  • Has the three largest wrecks sunk intentionally in the world. The Aircraft Carrier "ORISKANY" weighing in at 32,00 tons sunk in the Florida Panhandle in 2006 and the 6800 ton Landing Dock Ship "SPIEGEL GROVE" sunk in the Keys in 2002 and the GENERAL HOYT S. VANDENBERG USAFS 9,950 tons, sunk on the 27th May 2009.


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