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Message from the Director

Welcome and thanks for picking up this edition of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Saltwater Regulations publication.

This regulations booklet comes out twice a year and is packed with information that will help you understand Florida’s basic recreational saltwater fishing regulations. If you will be fishing in state waters of Florida, this is an excellent and handy resource to keep in your tackle box and help you stay in compliance.

In an effort to keep you up-to-date, several of the sections have been recently modified to clarify the rules related to harvest gear, spearing and the harvest of sharks.

Recently, there have been quite a few unscheduled recreational closures that apply in federal waters. Based on the calls we are receiving, many anglers are struggling to understand how these closures work and whether or not these federal closures also apply in state waters.

With the exception of tripletail, all of the reef fish and pelagic species on pages 9 and 10 are managed by FWC in state waters (within 3 nautical miles of shore on the Atlantic and within 9 nautical miles on the Gulf) and by our federal fishery partners in federal waters (beyond 3 and 9 mile boundary lines).

If one of these species closes in federal waters, FWC may or may not also close the fishery in state waters, and because a species can be closed at any time of the year, this printed guide might not always include unscheduled closures.

In an effort to help you stay informed about in-season closures, FWC has modified several of our reef fish species webpages to include both state and federal waters regulations for the Gulf and Atlantic, making a one-stop shop for your regulatory informational needs. If you hear that a species is closed, but you aren’t sure if it is closed in both state and federal waters, a quick visit to should clarify that for you.

Tech savvy? Download our new FWC licensing app, which also includes the regulations and is available on Apple and Android devices by searching FWC. You can also use the “AskFWC” system (see link near top of or contact the FWC – Division of Marine Fisheries Management by phone at 850-487-0554 and we will be happy to assist you. Interested in the latest changes only? Sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, “Fishing in the Know,” by clicking on the red envelope at

If you are planning to fish for reef fish or pelagic species in federal waters of the Gulf, we encourage you to also visit or download the Gulf Council App for Apple and Android phones. If you will be fishing for reef fish or pelagic species in federal waters of the Atlantic, please visit the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council website at and download the South Atlantic Council App for the most current regulations that apply in Atlantic federal waters.

Thanks again for picking up this edition of the FWC Saltwater Fishing Regulations. Happy fishing!

Jessica McCawley
Director, Marine Fisheries Management,
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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