Marine Life Regulations

Saltwater Marine Fishing Regulations Florida Saltwater Fishing

Marine life regulations

Requirements for marine life (aquarium species) harvest:

  • Recreational saltwater fishing license
  • Organisms must be landed and kept alive
  • A continuously circulating live well, aeration or oxygenation system of adequate size to maintain these organisms in a healthy condition
  • Allowable Gear: hand-held net, drop net, rod, barrier net, slurp gun (use of quinaldine is prohibited)*
  • Bag Limit: 20 organisms per person per day; only 5 of any one species allowed within the 20-organism bag limit
  • Possession Limit: 2-day possession limit, 40 total organisms, no more than 10 of any one species allowed
  • Allowable substrate: see species specifications in table
  • Closed areas: Some closed areas exist**
  • Sale of recreationally caught marine life organisms is prohibited
  • Regulations also apply in federal waters

* Some organisms have additional gear limitations, see chart.

** Various closed areas exist. See regulations for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and Florida’s State Parks before collecting in these areas.

Additional rules apply to the collection of shells containing live organisms in Lee or Manatee counties.

Marine Life — Fish



Size Limits
(total length unless otherwise noted)

Angelfish No more than 5 per person per day in any combination Gray, French Angelfish: 1½–8″ slot limit

Blue, Queen Angelfish: 1¾–8″ slot limit

Rock Beauty: 2–5″ slot limit

Butterflyfish 1–4″ slot limit
Filefish/Triggerfish Except Unicorn Filefish,
Gray Triggerfish and Ocean Triggerfish
Gobies Maximum size limit: 2″
Hamlets/Seabasses Except reef fish2 and Longtail Bass
Jawfish Maximum size limit: 4″
Parrotfish Maximum size limit: 12″
Porkfish Minimum size limit: 1½”
Includes Sharpnose Pufferfish, Striped Burrfish, Spotted Burrfish, Balloonfish, Porcupinefish
Tangs and Surgeonfish Maximum size limit (fork length): 9″
Wrasse/Hogfish/Razorfish Except Hogfish Snapper Spanish Hogfish: 2–8″ slot limit

Cuban Hogfish: 3–8″ slot limit


Marine Life — Invertebrates



Anemones Corallimorphs and Zoanthids: No more than 5 polyps of each may be landed per person per day, must be harvested with a flexible blade no wider than 2″. Corallimorphs must be harvested as single polyps only. Zero bag limit on Giant Anemone (Condylactis gigantea).
Conch, Queen Harvest prohibited
Corals: Hard ,stony, fire & black Harvest prohibited
Octocorals No more than 6 octocoral colonies per person per day in any combination; harvest of attached substrate within 1″ of base is permitted; harvest closes when quota met.
Crab, Hermit Except Land Hermit Crabs
Crab, Horseshoe Harvest prohibited
Live Rock Harvest prohibited
Octopods3 Except Common Octopus
Sea Fans Harvest of Venus Sea Fan and Common (Purple) Sea Fan prohibited
Siphonophores/Hydroids Harvest of Fire Coral prohibited
Sponges Except Sheepswool, Yellow, Grass, Glove, Finger, Wire, Reef and Velvet Sponges; no more than 5 sponges per harvester per day in any combination; harvest of substrate within 1″ of base permitted north and west of the southernmost point of Egmont Key, no substrate allowed south of Egmont Key
Starfish3 Harvest of Bahama Starfish (Cushion Sea Star) prohibited
Urchins3 Except Sand Dollars & Sea Biscuits; harvest of Longspine Urchin prohibited


Marine Life — Plants



Algae, Coralline Red One gallon of tropical ornamental marine plants per day in any
combination; 2 gallon maximum possession limit
Halimeda/Mermaid’s Fan/
Mermaid’s Shaving Brush

1–Unless otherwise noted, combined bag limit of 20 marine life fish and invertebrates per person per day, only 5 of any one species allowed. A 2-day possession limit also applies (40 total organisms, only 10 of any one species).

2–Such as groupers, snappers, seabass and amberjacks. Must abide by regulations for these species on Reef Fish.

3–Bag limit of 2 live shell fish of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.