Longstreet Highroad Guide to the Florida Keys & Everglades
By Rick Ferren
Fishing Linesthe newsletter is a quarterly newsletter from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Marine Resources. It contains current fishing regulations and is free of charge at most Florida Visitor Centers or by contacting the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Marine Resources, Mail Station 240, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000. Web site www.dep.state.fl.us. Phone (850) 488-6058.
Saltwater fishing licenses are sold at all county tax collectors' offices and at many baitandtackle shops. Licenses may also be obtained over the telephone by dialing toll free (888) 3474356. The cost differs for residents and nonresidents. Residents can purchase a 10-day or 1-year license. Nonresidents can purchase a 3-day, 7-day, or 1-year license. Special permits are also required for harvesting snook and crawfish (Florida lobster). Charter boats and fishing guides carry commercial licenses that cover their customers.
Spearing is defined as "the catching or taking of a fish by bow hunting, gigging, spearfishing, or any device used to capture a fish by piercing its body. Spearing does not include the catching or taking of a fish by a hook with hook and line gear or by snagging (snatch hooking)." The use of powerheads, bangsticks, and rebreathers is prohibited.
Species prohibited for harvest by spearing are: billfish (all species), bonefish, Nassau grouper, pompano, spotted eagle ray, tarpon, spotted seatrout, African pompano, sturgeon, Jewfish, red drum, permit, manta ray, snook, weakfish, tripletail, sharks, and all families of ornamental reef fish (surgeonfish, trumpetfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, porcupinefish, cornetfish, squirrelfish, trunkfish, damselfish, parrotfish, pipefish, seahorse, puffers).
Spearfishing is prohibited in the following areas:
(Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.)
The Florida Marine Patrol provides assistance to boaters and anglers and enforces Florida's saltwater fishing laws and other state environmental laws and rules. Marine Patrol officers can also provide advice and direction to those who are unfamiliar with Florida's coastline and waterways. Web site www.dep.state.fl.us/mfc/fabout.htm. Tallahassee Headquarters, phone (800) 342-5367.
For a Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Everglades Region (includes the Florida Keys) at 8535 Northlake Boulevard, West Palm Beach, FL 33412-3303. Web site www.state.fl.us/gfc/fising.Phone (561) 625-5122.
Licenses may be purchased from county tax collectors or their subagents, who are generally located at tackle shops, fish camps, hardware stores, and sporting goods stores. Licenses may also be obtained over the telephone by dialing toll free (888) 3474356. The cost differs for residents and nonresidents. Residents can purchase a 1-year license. Nonresidents can purchase a 3-day, 7-day, or 1-year license.
To Report Wildlife Law Violators, phone (800) 432-2046 or on cellular phones dial *GFC.