A Guide to Saltwater Fishing Regulations in Florida

June 5, 2019

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Florida, with as large of a fishing industry as it has (both commercial and recreational), has some very stringent regulations for its freshwater and saltwater fishing. Today we want to share some recreational saltwater fishing regulations that could affect you when you come out and join Charter Boat Shark for a trip on a fishing charter in Sarasota, FL.

Here are just a few examples of some of these regulations based on certain categories of fish:

  • Snappers: Snapper are the most common type of reef fish you’ll find on your fishing charter. All species of snapper are included in a 10-fish per angler per day bag limit, no matter what combination of snapper species you have. This species is open for angling year-round in most cases, except for the red snapper, which is only open on the Gulf from June 11 to July 12. Each type of snapper (eight in total) has its own minimum sizes to consider.
  • Grouper: On the Atlantic side, there is a three fish per angler per day bag limit for any combination of grouper and golden tilefish species. On the Gulf side, that bag limit is four fish for any combination of grouper species. However, on the Gulf side there is no daily bag limit for captains and crews for on-hire vessels. Again, research individual fish for information about specific seasons and size limitations.
  • Pelagics: Pelagics include species such as swordfish, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, wahoo, dolphinfish, tripletail and cobia. The minimum size limits for these fish are often much larger. For example, with swordfish there’s a minimum 47” lower jaw fork length with head attached or 25” cleithrum to keel length if head removed. With blue marlins (a type of billfish), there is a 99” minimum size limit. These larger game fish often must be reported to the NOAA within 24 hours of catch, and an HMS permit is likely required when fishing for them. There aren’t as many limitations for smaller pelagics beyond size and bag limitations, but do research individual fish to be safe.
  • Sharks: There are some anglers who like to go out and fish for sharks. Keep in mind that there is only a one per angler or two per vessel limit, whichever is smaller. Some sharks can only be kept when they’re at least 54” with fork length, including common threshers, nurse sharks and bull sharks. Other sharks do not have a minimum size limit, including Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, finetooth and bonnethead.

Keep in mind there are other examples of fish that cannot be retained at all, for a variety of reasons.

The great thing about going on a fishing charter in Sarasota, FL is that your captain and crew will already know all of the regulations for fishing in the area, so you won’t have to do the research ahead of time on your own. But if you’re interested in learning more about area fishing regulations, we encourage you to contact Charter Boat Shark today.

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