Florida Keys

Saltwater Fishing Regulations

brochure Florida Keys - Saltwater Fishing Regulations

Saltwater Fishing Regulations for Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in Florida. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

source

myfwc.com

Florida Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations Issued: June 2021 New regulations are highlighted in red (please visit: MyFWC.com/Fishing/Saltwater/Recreational Regulations apply to state waters of the Gulf and Atlantic for the most current regulations) All art: © Diane Rome Peebles, except blueline tilefish and golden tilefish (Duane Raver); lionfish (FWC) Reef Fish Snapper General Snapper Regulations: • Snapper Aggregate Bag Limit – Within state waters of the Atlantic and Gulf, all species of snapper are included in a 10 fish per harvester per day aggregate bag limit in any combination of snapper species, unless stated otherwise. • Seasons – If no seasonal information is provided, the species is open year-round. Other Snapper Snapper, Cubera  u l Snapper, Red Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 12" (see below) Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10 per harvester under 30", included within snapper aggregate bag limit • May additionally harvest up to 2 over 30" per harvester or vessel, whichever is less, and these 2 fish over 30" are not included within snapper aggregate bag limit  u l X Snapper, Vermilion u l X Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 20" • Gulf - 16" Season: • Atlantic - Open year-round • Gulf - June 4 - July 28 Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 5 per harvester not included within snapper aggregate bag limit • Gulf - 10 per harvester not included within snapper aggregate bag limit Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 2 per harvester • Gulf - Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels. Snapper, Lane ul Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 8" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 12" • Gulf - 10" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 10 per harvester • Gulf - 100 pounds per harvester, not included within snapper aggregate bag limit ul Minimum Size Limits: • Dog and Mahogany: Atlantic and Gulf - 12” • No minimum size limit for other snappers Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10 per harvester Grouper Snapper, Gray (Mangrove)  u l Snapper, Mutton  u l X Snapper, Schoolmaster ul Snapper, Yellowtail ulX Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 18" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 12" total length Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 5 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 5 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 10 per harvester Atlantic Grouper General Regulations: • Atlantic grouper regulations apply to all state waters of the Atlantic and all state waters off Monroe County (Gulf and Atlantic sides). • Atlantic Grouper/Tilefish Aggregate Bag Limit includes all species of grouper plus golden tilefish and blueline tilefish in a 3 fish per harvester per day aggregate bag limit in in any combination of species.Seasons – If no seasonal information is provided, the species is open year-round. Grouper, Black  u l X Grouper, Snowy Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 24" • Gulf - 24" Season: • Atlantic - Closed Jan. 1–April 30 • Gulf - Open year-round l * Zero bag limit for captain and crew of for-hire vessels applies to gag, black, and red grouper only. l Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 20" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - None Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 1 per harvester • Gulf - 4 per harvester Season: • Atlantic - Closed Jan. 1–April 30 • Gulf - Open year-round Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 1 per vessel per day of each species Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 2 per Harvester* Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 1 per harvester. Only 1 fish can be gag or black • Gulf - 4 per harvester* Grouper, Scamp  u l Gag Grouper Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 20" • Gulf - 16" Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 24" • Gulf - 24" Season: • Atlantic - Closed Jan. 1–April 30 • Gulf - Open year-round Season: • Atlantic - Closed: Jan. 1–April 30 • Gulf - State waters off Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties: Open April 1 –June 30, & Sept 1–Dec. 31. • Gulf - State waters off all other counties: Open June 1–Dec. 31 Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 4 per harvester Grouper, Warsaw  u l X & Speckled Hind Minimum Size Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - None Gulf Grouper General Regulations: • Gulf grouper regulations apply to all state waters of the Gulf except off Monroe County (where Atlantic rules apply). • Gulf Grouper Aggregate Bag Limit - all species of grouper in the Gulf are included in a 4 fish per harvester per day aggregate bag limit in any combination of grouper species. • Seasons – If no seasonal information is provided, the species is open year-round. Grouper, Red Grouper, Yellowfin  u l X & Yellowmouth Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 1 per harvester. Only 1 fish can be gag or black • Gulf - 2 per harvester* ul Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - 20" Season: • Atlantic - Closed Jan. 1–April 30 • Gulf - Open year-round Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 4 per harvester Other Groupers l Other Grouper includes: • Rock Hind, Red Hind, Coney, Graysby, Misty and Yellowedge Season: • Atlantic - Rock hind, Red hind, Coney, Graysby: Closed Jan. 1-April 30 • Atlantic - All others open year-round • Gulf - Open year-round Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 4 per harvester All art: © Diane Rome Peebles, except blueline tilefish and golden tilefish (Duane Raver); lionfish (FWC) Reef Fish Other Reef Fish (If no season information is provided, the species is open year-round) Amberjack, Greater l X Tilefish, Blueline Season: • Atlantic - Open year-round • Gulf - Open May 1–May 31, Aug. 1–Oct. 31 Season: • Atlantic - Open May 1-Aug. 31 • Gulf - Open year-round Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 1 per harvester Red Porgy  l Great Barracuda Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester per day • Gulf - 100 pounds or 2 per harvester, whichever is greater Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 28" fork length • Gulf - 34" fork length Remarks • Blueline tilefish included within Atlantic grouper aggregate bag limits  u l Tilefish, Golden Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 14" • Gulf - None Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 100 pounds n Hogfish Regulations only apply in Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties. Minimum Size Limits: • Not less than 15" or more than 36" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 per person or 6 per vessel • May possess one over 36" per vessel. • Unregulated in all other areas.  l X Triggerfish (Gray)  l X Atlantic regulations apply to Monroe county. Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 12" fork length Includes all waters south of Cape Sable. • Gulf - 15" fork length Minimum Size Limits: Season: • Atlantic - 16" fork length • Atlantic - Open year-round • Gulf - 14" fork length • Gulf - Open March 1- May 31, Season: Aug. 1-Dec. 31, see MyFWC.com • Atlantic - Open May 1–Oct. 31 for updates • Gulf - Open year round Daily Recreational Bag Limit: Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 10 per harvester • Atlantic - 1 per harvester • Gulf - 1 per harvester • Gulf - 5 per harvester Amberjack, Lesser &  l Banded Rudderfish  l X Black Sea Bass Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 1 per harvester • Gulf - 100 pounds or 2 per person, whichever is greater Remarks • Golden tilefish included within Atlantic grouper aggregate bag limits ul Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic and Gulf - Cannot be less than 14" or greater than 22" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 13" • Gulf - 10" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic and Gulf - 5 per person aggregate of the two species Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 7 per harvester • Gulf - 100 pounds per harvester Pelagics Billfish  H Blackfin Tuna Minimum Size Limits: • Sailfish 63"; • Blue Marlin 99"; • White Marlin 66"; • Roundscale Spearfish 66" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester aggregate bag limit  n Mackerel, King  Minimum Size Limits: • 24" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • 12" fork length Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 fish per person or 10 fish per vessel per day, whichever is greater. Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic (excluding Monroe) - 2 per harvester • Gulf (including Monroe) - 3 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 15 per harvester Remarks • Measured tip of lower jaw to fork. All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours 800-894-5528 or hmspermits.noaa.gov. • HMS permit required in federal waters. Wahoo  Mackerel, Spanish Minimum Size Limits: • No minimum size limit Remarks • Bag limit reduced to 1 in some state waters if federal waters are closed to recreational harvest.  Cobia (Ling)  Tripletail Minimum Size Limits: • 33" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • 18" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 1 per harvester not to exceed 6 per vessel • Gulf - 1 per harvester, not to exceed 2 per vessel Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 per harvester Scan this code with your mobile device to view the regulations online. Remarks • Hook and line only. No snatch hooks. H Minimum Size Limits: • 47" lower jaw fork length with head attached or 25" cleithrum to keel length if head removed Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester per day, not to exceed a maximum of 4 per recreational (not forhire) vessel or 15 per for-hire vessel Remarks • All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours 800-894-5528. HMS permit required in federal waters. Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew of for-hire vessels.  H u T n Dolphinfish Minimum Size Limits: • None Swordfish  Minimum Size Limits: • Atlantic - 20" fork length • Gulf - None Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 10 per harvester per day, not to exceed 60 per vessel per day. Vessel limit does not apply to for-hire vessels. Buy your license online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or toll free at: 1-888-347-4356 Report fish and wildlife law violations toll free at: 1-888-404-3922 Coastal Species Bluefish Pompano, H n African  u T n Bonefish  n Flounder l H  T n Sheepshead l  u T n Minimum Size Limits: • 12" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • 14" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 0 per harvester Minimum Size Limits: • 24" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • 12" Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Atlantic - 3 per harvester • Gulf - 10 per harvester (includes Monroe county) Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 5 per harvester Remarks • Catch and release only • Hook and line only Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 per harvester per day, not to exceed 2 per vessel Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 8 per harvester Closed Season: • Oct. 15 – Nov. 30 Remarks • May be harvested by spearing. Snatching prohibited. Spotted Seatrout Weakfish l H u T n Size Limits: • Not less than 15" or more than 19" • May not possess more than 1 over 19" per vessel Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 3 per harvester per day W.P. Zone • 5 per harvester per day B.B. Zone • 3 per harvester per day S. Zone • 2 per harvester per day C.E. Zone • 5 per harvester per day N.E Zone Closed Season: • Feb. W.P. Zone • Nov. - Dec. C.E. Zone Remarks • 6 fish vessel limit south of state road 64 (Manatee County) through Gordon Pass (Collier County) • See management zone map on pg. 9 • Zero bag limit for captain and crew of for-hire vessels • For current regulations see MyFWC.com Permit l H Tn Size Limits: • 22" fork Special Permit Zone (SPZ); Not less than 11" or more than 22" fork length all other areas Closed Season: • April 1–July 31 SPZ Only Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester, not to exceed 2 per vessel SPZ; • 2 per harvester all other state waters Hu Minimum Size Limits: • Weakfish Management Area (WMA) in Nassau County - 12" • All other areas - no minimum Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • WMA - 1 per harvester • All other areas - 100 pounds per harvester Remarks • Regulations apply in parts of Nassau County only. • See map at: MyFWC.com/Fishing/Saltwater/Recreational/Weakfish Remarks • May possess 1 over 22" fork length outside the SPZ, not to exceed 2 over 22" fork per vessel per day. For map of SPZ, please see: MyFWC.com. • Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels Snook (All species) Remarks • Snatching prohibited • Vessel limit of 50 fish during March and April  H u T n Tarpon lHTn Size Limits: • Not less than 28" or more than 32" Atlantic excluding Monroe • Not less than 28" or more than 33" Gulf and Monroe County Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester per year. $50 harvest tag required. Vessel limit of one fish. Harvest tag can only be used when fish is retained for potential IGFA record. Closed Season: • Atlantic (excluding Monroe) closed Dec. 15–Jan. 31 and June 1–Aug. 31. • Gulf including Monroe County, Dec. 1– end of February, and May 1–Aug. 31. Remarks • Tarpon over 40 inches must remain in the water during release. Spearing and snatch hooking prohibited. Bottom weighted jigs prohibited in Boca Grande Pass. See: MyFWC.com/Fishing/ Saltwater/Recreational/Tarpon for additional information. Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester Remarks • Remains Catch-and-release only south of state road 64 (Manatee County) through Gordon Pass (Collier County) • Snook permit required for harvest when saltwater license required. See MyFWC.com for snook permit details. Snatch hooks and spearing prohibited. • Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels Red Drum (Redfish) HuT Size Limits: • Not less than 18" or more than 27" Black Drum Daily Recreational Bag Limit: Mullet, Striped Blue Runner  u T n Pompano, Florida H T n (Black) & Silver n • 2 per harvester per day in the NE zone, and 1 per harvester in the NW and S zone. See map on p. 6 • Off the water possession limit of 6 fish Size Limits: • Not less than 14" or more than 24" Minimum Size Limits: • 11" fork length Minimum Size Limits: • No minimum size Minimum Size Limits: • No minimum Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 5 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 6 per harvester Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 100 fish per harvester Remarks • May possess one over 24". Snatching prohibited. Remarks • Hook and line, cast net and beach or haul seine ONLY. Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 50 aggregate per harvester; • Aggregate vessel limits Feb. 1–Aug. 31: 100 per vessel; Sept. 1–Jan. 31: 50 per vessel Remarks • Remains Catch-and-release only south of state road 64 (Manatee County) through Gordon Pass (Collier County) • Gigging, spearing, snatching prohibited. Harvest in Federal waters prohibited. Can't find your fish in the regulations? Florida’s coastal waters are home to thousands of marine species, and the majority of these species have no specific regulations with regard to bag limits, size limits, gear restrictions or closed seasons. These species are often referred to as “unregulated species,” although the name can be a bit misleading. State law provides that for any marine species that does not have specific regulations, harvesting more than 100 pounds or two fish (whichever is the greater amount) constitutes a commercial quantity and requires a commercial license. This means the recreational harvest limit for any unregulated species is 100 pounds or two organisms if the combined weight of the two organisms exceeds 100 pounds. H Spearing Prohibited  Must remain in whole condition (removal of gills and guts allowed). u Measured as total length. Total length is the straight line distance from the most forward part of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed together while the fish is lying on its side. n State regulations apply in federal waters. Gulf Kingfish Jack Crevalle Lionfish Hardhead Catfish Examples of "unregulated species" include: Ladyfish, bonito, menhaden, white grunt, southern stingray, gulf kingfish (whiting), pinfish, Atlantic croaker, jack crevalle, cero mackerel, hardhead catfish, gafftopsail catfish, lionfish. * No license is required to harvest lionfish by dipnet, pole spear or Hawaiian sling and lionfish bag limit is unlimited for both Gulf and Atlantic state waters . l Additional gear rules apply, please see: MyFWC.com T Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook (any hook with two or more points and a common shaft) in conjunction with live or dead natural bait. X  State Reef Fish Angler designation required when fishing for select reef fish species from a private vessel in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean. Crustaceans and Mollusks l Spiny Lobster Bay Scallops Season: • Gulf County: Aug. 16–Sept. 24 • Franklin-NW Taylor County: July 1–Sept. 24 • Dixie and remaining Taylor County: June 15–Labor Day • Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties: July 1–Sept. 24 • Pasco County: 10 days starting on 3rd Friday in July Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 gallons whole or 1 pint meat per harvester; no more than 10 gallons whole, or ½ gallon meat per vessel anytime • Dixie and remaining Taylor County: From June 15–30, one gallon whole/one cup meat per person or five gallons whole/two pints meat per vessel, whichever is less Remarks • Harvest allowed only in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the Pinellas - Pasco county line, to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. Direct transit through closed areas permitted. Shrimp Seasons: • Sport Season open July 28–29, 2021 • Regular Season opens Aug. 6 through March 31 Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • Sport Season: 6 per harvester per day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, 12 in all other harvest areas. • Regular Season: 6 per harvester in all areas Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 5 gallons heads on per harvester or vessel, whichever is less Remarks • Visit: MyFWC.com/Fishing and select "Saltwater", "Regulations" and "Shrimp" for additional regulations specific to Dade, Nassau and Duval Minimum Size Limits: • 1" thick across hinge Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • One 5 gal. bucket per harvester or 2 per vessel (whole in shell) Minimum Size Limits: • 2 7/8" claw Minimum Size Limit: • 3" Closed Season: • May 2–Oct. 14 Closed Season: • June, July, Aug. in Dixie, Wakulla, Levy counties. • July, Aug., Sept. in all other areas except Apalachicola Bay. • Apalachicola Bay: Closed Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 gal. claws per harvester or 2 gal. per vessel, whichever is less Remarks • 5 traps maximum. Visit MyFWC.com for statewide trap construction requirements and specific requirements that apply in Miami-Dade, Monroe and Collier. Illegal to possess whole crab. Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited. See how to properly de-claw on our website. New trap registration requirements, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com to register. Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 2 bags per harvester or vessel except Apalachicola Bay Remarks • Harvest from approved shellfish areas during daylight hours only. • Go to FloridaAquaculture.com to determine the Open or Closed status of shellfish harvesting areas. • May not harvest half hour after official sunset until half hour before official sunrise. • 1 Bag = 60 lbs. or two 5 gal. buckets (whole in shell) • Harvest prohibited in any harvest area that is in the l Crab, Blue H Closed status as determined by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Closed Season: • Bay County: Harvest and possession prohibited in • Regional trap closures apply. Visit MyFWC.com for West Bay Estuarine Habitat Restoration Project Zone 2021 trap closure dates and locations. Remarks • Recreational trapping prohibited. Spiny lobster permit required when license required. Harvest of egg-bearing females prohibited.  Clams (Hard) Closed Season: • April & May closed in Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler & Clay counties H n Oysters H  Crab, Stone Minimum Size Limit: • Carapace must be greater than 3" measured in the water Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 10 gallons whole per harvester Remarks Remarks • Illegal to harvest from closed areas. • 5 traps maximum. Trap requirements apply. • Go to www.FloridaAquaculture.com for allowable Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited. New trap harvesting areas. registration requirements, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida. • May not harvest half hour after official sunset until com to register. half hour before official sunrise. Sharks Retainable Sharks with a 54" fork length minimum  H T Blue, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle (not illustrated). Bull Common Thresher Nurse Spinner Retainable Sharks with no minimum size limit  H T Finetooth, Smooth Dogfish, Florida and Gulf Smoothhounds (not illustrated). Atlantic Sharpnose Shortfin Mako Daily Recreational Bag Limit: • 1 per harvester or 2 per vessel per day, whichever is less. Remarks • The retainable sharks are managed as a group for bag limit purposes. In other words, you can only harvest one shark per day and the shark that you harvest must be one of the retainable species. • Hook-and-line gear only. • Shore-based Shark Fishing educational course and permit required. • See list of prohibited species below. Blacknose Bonnethead Retainable Sharks with a 83" fork length minimum  H T Blacktip Prohibited Species It is unlawful to harvest, possess, land, purchase, sell or exchange the following species: Goliath Grouper (Jewfish), Nassau Grouper, Sawfish, Atlantic Angel Shark, Basking Shark, Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark, Bigeye Sixgill Shark, Bigeye Thresher Shark, Bignose Shark, Caribbean Reef Shark, Caribbean Sharpnose Shark, Dusky Shark, Galapagos Shark, Lemon Shark, Longfin Mako Shark, Narrowtooth Shark, Night Shark, Silky Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Sandbar Shark, Sevengill Shark, Sixgill Shark, Smalltail Shark, Spiny Dogfish, Whale Shark, White Shark, Tiger Shark, Greater, Scalloped and Smooth Hammerhead Shark, Manta Ray, Devil Ray, Spotted Eagle Ray, Longbill Spearfish, Mediterranean Spearfish, Sturgeon, Queen Conch, Calico Scallop, Stony, Hard, Black and Fire Corals, Sea Fans, Bahama Starfish, and Longspine Urchin. Harvest of live rock in state waters is prohibited. Puffer fish harvest is prohibited in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties.

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