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Introduction

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This website is your guide to Florida’s freshwater fishing laws and regulations. The Florida Wildlife Code is the final authority on fishing laws (www.FLrules.org). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) strives to ensure this information is accurate but assumes no liability for errors that may occur. In addition, rules can change between publications. Contact the FWC if you have questions not adequately covered in this booklet; see contact list and map below. This publication is valid from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.

Florida remains the “Fishing Capital of the World,” due to great resources and responsible management. We consider the quality of life that is associated with recreational activities and living in a healthy environment to be extremely important to Floridians and visitors and are also striving to make Florida the undisputed “Bass Fishing Capital.”

The FWC uses the best scientific management possible to help fulfill its mission of “Managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.” To fund those efforts, the Legislature sets fishing license fees and exemptions, as well as penalties for violating fish and wildlife conservation laws. State law guarantees money from sale of fishing licenses goes to the FWC and cannot be diverted.

In 1950, congressmen Dingell and Johnson, at the request of anglers and the fishing industry, created the original Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program wherein fishing tackle was assessed an excise fee and the monies returned to the states for fish restoration projects. The “Wallop-Breaux” amendment in 1984 expanded the act by adding import duties on sport fishing equipment, pleasure boats and yachts as well as taxes on motorboat fuels. The result is one of the most successful “user-pays, user-benefits” programs in the world, with taxes from sale of outdoor recreation supplies directly enhancing and promoting the resource.

The amount of money Florida receives from SFR is based on the size of the state and the number of paid licensed anglers—not licenses and permits, but the people who hold them. For instance, an angler with freshwater and saltwater licenses and a snook permit counts as one holder. Each certified holder generates approximately $7.49 more for sportfish restoration providing nearly $14 million for Florida in 2009.

Of those monies 15 percent went to boating access—building and repairing ramps and courtesy docks. The remainder went to fresh and saltwater fisheries conservation projects such as habitat restoration, fish stocking, artificial reefs construction, and youth fishing clinics.

The FWC encourages all anglers to buy a license (MyFWC.com/License). Even if you are legally exempt, you can contribute to the future of our fisheries resources by buying a license and helping the FWC keep your federal tax dollars in Florida to support sportfish restoration.

Recreational fishing often is portrayed in advertising because it is an enjoyable, wholesome experience that reflects a happy and healthy lifestyle. Moreover, it is the number one gateway activity to get youth connected to nature in active outdoor recreation, which can reduce obesity, improve grades and most of all adds enjoyment to their lives. The FWC is working hard to ensure safe and sustainable recreational fishing for all of our citizens and guests and depends on your license fees to make sure there are fish for tomorrow.

 

Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission

620 South Meridian Street
Farris Bryant Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
(850) 488-4676
(800) 955-8771 TDD

Commissioners

Rodney Barreto
Chairman, Miami

Richard A. Corbett
Vice Chairman, Tampa

Kathy Barco
Jacksonville

Ronald M. Bergeron
Ft. Lauderdale

Dwight Stephenson
Delray Beach

Kenneth W. Wright
Winter Park

Brian S. Yablonski
Tallahassee

Staff

Nick Wiley
Executive Director

Greg Holder
Assistant Executive Director

Karen Ventimiglia
Deputy Chief of Staff

Tom Champeau
Director, Freshwater Fisheries Management

FWC regional offices

Northwest Region
3911 Highway 2321
Panama City, FL 32409-1658
850-265-3676

North Central Region
3377 East U.S. Highway 90
Lake City, FL 32055-8795
386-758-0525

Northeast Region
1239 Southwest 10th Street
Ocala, FL 34471-0323
352-732-1225

Southwest Region
3900 Drane Field Road
Lakeland, FL 33811-1299
863-648-3200

South Region
8535 Northlake Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33412-3303
561-625-5122

 

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Conservation Partner Advertisements: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission allows appropriate advertising in its annual regulation guides in print and online, in order to defray or eliminate expenses to the state, and support enhanced communications with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Constituents. Through a unique partnership with J.F.Griffin Publishing, LLC & eRegulations.com, ‘Conservation Partners’ have been established that pay for advertising in support of the regulations both in print and online. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission neither endorses products or services listed or claims made; nor accepts any liability arising from the use of products or services listed. Advertisers interested in the Conservation Partners program should contact J.F.Griffin/eRegulations.com directly at 413-884-1001,
This is not the full law. Consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for further details. All persons are reminded that the statutes, code and regulations are the legal authorities.
JF Griffin Media
J.F. Griffin Media reaches 9,000,000 sportsmen every year through our print and digital publications. We produce 30 hunting and fishing regulation guides for 15 state agencies. For advertising information, please visit: www.jfgriffin.com