COMMERCIAL REGULATIONS - as of January 1998 (last modified - December 31, 1997)

Species

Minimum Size Limit
(unless otherwise indicated)

Trip Limit

Quotas/Closed Seasons

COASTAL MIGRATORY PELAGICS

Cobia (ling)

Minimum 33" fork length

Daily bag and possession limit of 2/person


King Mackerel

Minimum 20" fork length

EASTERN ZONE:

FL east coast sub-zone

11/1 until 75% sub-quota - 750 lbs./trip. Then 500 lbs./trip. (If 75% of quota not filled by 2/15, limit remains at 750 lbs./trip until quota filled or 3/31, whichever comes first.)

4/1 to 10/31 - South Atlantic regulations apply, refer to South Atlantic Council regulations pamphlet.

FL west coast sub-zone: Gill nets

7/1 until gear quota - 25,000 lbs./trip.

FL west coast sub-zone: Hook and line

7/1 until 75% gear quota - 1,250 lbs./trip. Then 500 lbs./trip until gear quota filled.

WESTERN ZONE: no trip limits

quota (subdivided as shown):
2.5 million lbs. Gulf group

1.73 million lbs. EASTERN ZONE
-0.865 MP FL-east sub-zone

-0.865 MP FL-west sub-zone
---0.4325 MP gill nets
---0.4325 MP hook and line

0.77 million lbs. WESTERN ZONE

Spanish Mackerel

Minimum 12" fork length

 

none

quota: 3.99 million lbs. Gulf group. Season opens 4/1 and closes when quota is filled.

REEF FISH

Snappers

Red Snapper



15" total length



2,000 lbs./trip with Class 1 red snapper license

200 lbs./trip with Class 2 red snapper license

Commercial harvest prohibited without a Class 1 or Class 2 red snapper license (in addition to a reef fish vessel permit)



quota = 4.65 million lbs. - 3.06 million lbs. on a Feb. 1 opening, remainder on a Sept. 1 opening, and open first 2 weeks of each month until quota is reached.

Vermilion
Lane
Gray (Mangrove)
Mutton
Yellowtail
Queen
Schoolmaster
Blackfin
Cubera
Dog
Mahogany
Silk
Wenchman

10" total length
8" total length
12" total length
12" total length
12" total length
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none

none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none


Deep-Water
Groupers

Misty
Snowy
Yellowedge
Warsaw
Speckled Hind




none
none
none
none
none




none
none
none
none
none

quota: 1.6 million lbs.

(includes scamp after shallow-water grouper quota is filled.)

Shallow-Water
Groupers

Red
Yellowfin
Black
Gag
Scamp
Yellowmouth
Rock Hind
Red Hind

Protected Groupers

Jewfish
Nassau grouper




20" total length
20" total length
20" total length
20" total length
none
none
none
none

Harvest prohibited
Harvest prohibited




none
none
none
none
none
none
none
none

 

quota: 9.8 million lbs.

(includes all groupers other than those classified as deep-water groupers)

Black seabass

8" total length

none

Sea basses, grunts and porgies (including black sea bass) in the Gulf of Mexico are removed from federal management effective January 29, 1998. After that date, they may be subject to adjacent state regulations, even if caught in federal waters.

Greater amberjack

(commercial)
36" fork length

none

Commercial harvest closed during March, April and May.

OTHER SPECIES

Red Drum


Harvest prohibited in federal waters.


Species

Size Limit

Trip Limit

Quotas/Closed Seasons

SHELLFISH

Stone Crab

Minimum 2 3/4" claw

none

Season Closed 5/16 - 10/14

Spiny Lobster

Carapace more than 3" or
Tail more than 5 1/2"

Divers must measure in water. See note below.

none

Season Closed 4/1 - 8/5

Shrimp

None, but white shrimp taken in the EEZ and transported to Louisiana must comply with the minimum size limit of that state.

none

Royal red shrimp - 392,000 lbs. tail weight. Royal red shrimp season opens 1/1 and closes when quota is filled.

HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES

Tuna

Bluefin

Size Categories
curved fork length - see below

school - 27" to <47"
large school - 47" to <59"
small medium - 59" to <73"
large medium - 73" to <81"
giant - 81"+

 

Quotas and trip limits vary by size, permit category and allowable days. Telephone the NMFS Highly Migratory Species Management Division's toll-free 24 hour information line for updates on closure notices, inseason quota adjustments, and updates of commercial landings for Atlantic bluefin tuna 1-888-USA-TUNA (1-888- 872-8862).

Bigeye
Yellowfin
Albacore
Skipjack
Bonito

27" CFL
27" CFL
none
none
none

none
none
none
none
none

No quota.

Billfish

Blue Marlin
White Marlin
Sailfish
Longbill spearfish

No commercial fishery allowed. Sale prohibited.

Swordfish

29" carcass length or 33 lbs., dressed weight (gutted, headed, and finned).

No allowance for undersized fish.

31,600 lbs./trip. Directed fishery closed when quota is reached. Directed fishery bycatch limit of 15 fish/trip allowed during closures.

5 fish/trip non-directed bycatch allowance for squid, mackerel, butterfish, and otter trawl fisheries.

2 fish/trip non-directed bycatch allowance for other fisheries

annual directed fishery 1997 quota: 2,164 metric tons (4.77 million lbs.) dressed weight, 1998 proposed quota: 2,098.6 metric tons (4.63 million lbs.). Quota is divided into two 6-month semi-annual seasons. The fishing year is June 1 through July 31.

annual bycatch quota: 300 metric tons (661 thousand lbs.) dressed weight.

quota allocations by gear apply.

SHARKS

Ratio of wet fins to dressed carcass not to exceed 5 Percent. Sharks not retained must be released uninjured. Trip reports required. Dealer permits required. Semi-annual quotas may be adjusted downward or upward to reflect over or under harvest in the preceeding period.

Large Coastals

none

4,000 lbs./trip

quota: 642 MT DW per 6 months

Small Coastals

none

none

quota: 880 MT SW per 6 months

Pelagics

none

none

quota: 290 MT DW per 6 months

Protected Sharks

Basking shark
White shark
Bigeye sand tiger
Sand tiger
Whale shark



Harvest prohibited
Harvest prohibited
Harvest prohibited
Harvest prohibited
Harvest prohibited



CORAL AND CORAL REEFS

Allowable Octocorals



quota: 50,000 colonies

Live Rock

Harvest or possession of wild live rock is prohibited. Harvest and possession of aquacultured live rock allowed by permitted individuals.

Other Marine Life Organisms

Marine life organisms from the EEZ harvested or possessed by Florida residents or landed in Florida are subject to Florida’s Marine Life Rule. Contact Florida Marine Fisheries Commission for more information (850-487-0554).

Fork length: Tip of snout to fork of tail
Curved fork length: Tip of the upper jaw to fork of tail measured along the contour of the middle of the body
Carcass length: Curved measure from posterior edge of gill opening to anterior portion of caudal keel
Total length: Tip of snout to tip of tail
Dressed weight: Fish has been gutted and the head and fins removed, but is otherwise in whole condition.

ADDITIONAL REMARKS:

Stone Crab

Stone crab traps must have a biodegradable panel, and must be permanently marked with their Florida stone crab permit number and color or their federal number and color.

Spiny Lobster

Only diving, bully nets, hoop nets, and traps not to exceed 2'x2'x3' allowed. Bycatch of 5% allowed with trawls. Removal of spiny lobster tail allowed only when fishing exclusively in the EEZ on a trip of 48 hours or more, and requires a tailing permit.

Cobia (ling)

Drift gill nets are prohibited.

Allowable Octocorals

Allowable octocoral means an erect, nonencrusting species of the subclass Octocorallia, except the seafans Gorgonia flabellum and G. ventalina, plus the attached substrate within 1 inch of an allowable octocoral. Note: An octocoral with attached substrate exceeding 1 inch is considered to be live rock and not allowable octocoral.

Tuna - Bluefin

Allowable gear: rod and reel (including downriggers), handline, harpoon, bandit gear, purse seine nets. Incidental catch allowed with purse seine nets, fixed gear, traps, longline.

Tuna - others

Allowable gear: rod and reel (including downriggers), handline, harpoon, bandit gear, purse seine nets, longline, and drift gillnet.

Billfish

Retention prohibited on longline and driftnet vessels; must be released in water alive.

Swordfish

Allowable gear: only drift gill nets less than 2.5 km, harpoons, and longlines may target, other gear is incidental catch. (dressed = gutted, headed and finned.)

Reef Fish

Sea basses, grunts and porgies in the Gulf of Mexico are removed from federal management effective January 29, 1998. After that date, they may be subject to adjacent state regulations, even if caught in federal waters.

Sharks

Large Coastals:
Sandbar, Blacktip, Dusky, Spinner, Silky, Bull, Bignose, Narrowtooth, Galapagas, Night, Caribbean reef, Tiger, Lemon, Nurse, Scalloped hammerhead, Great hammerhead, Smooth hammerhead

Small Coastals:
Atlantic sharpnose, Caribbean sharpnose, Finetooth, Blacknose, Smalltail, Bonnethead, Atlantic angel

Pelagics:
Shortfin mako, Longfin mako, Porbeagle, Thresher, Bigeye thresher, Blue, Oceanic whitetip, Sevengill, Sixgill, Bigeye sixgill

Illegal to remove the fins and return remainder of shark to sea.

COMMERCIAL PERMIT REQUIREMENTS: (Earned income qualification criteria apply to mackerel, reef fish and shark permits.)

Permit

Required For:

Spiny lobster federal vessel permit or Florida commercial harvester license and certificates

Florida commercial harvester license and certificates required for harvest or possession in excess of the bag limits in the EEZ off Florida or to land or sell in Florida. Federal vessel permit required for harvest or possession in excess of the bag limits in the EEZ other than off Florida or sale other than Florida.

Spiny lobster tail-separation permit

Possession of a separated spiny lobster tail in or from the EEZ aboard a vessel. Also requires a spiny lobster federal vessel permit or Florida state license and certificates.

Mackerel vessel permit

Harvest of king or Spanish mackerel under quota and in excess of the bag limits. A proposal for separate permits for king mackerel and Spanish mackerel, and a king mackerel permit moratorium, is under review by NMFS.

King mackerel gillnet endorsement

Harvest of king mackerel in the Florida west coast subzone using a gillnet. Also requires a mackerel vessel permit.

Reef fish vessel permit

Harvest and sale of all reef fish listed in the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan under quota (where applicable) and in excess of the bag limits (where applicable), except jewfish and Nassau grouper (for which all harvest is prohibited). Issuance of new reef fish permits is under a moratorium until December 31, 2000. Existing permits are transferable.

Red snapper license

Required in addition to a reef fish permit to harvest red snapper commercially. A Class 1 license is needed for a 2,000 pound trip limit. A Class 2 license is needed for a 200 pound trip limit. Red snapper licenses will initially be issued during January 1998 for the commercial season that opens February 1, 1998. No additional red snapper licenses will be issued, but red snapper licenses are transferable.

Fish trap endorsement

Required in addition to a reef fish permit to harvest reef fish using fish traps. No new fish trap endorsements are being issued. Existing fish trap endorsements are transferable through February 7, 1999. Thereafter, endorsements are non-transferable except to another vessel owned by the endorsement holder, immediate family members or in case of death or disability of the endorsement holder. After February 7, 2007, all fish trap endorsements become invalid and the use of fish traps to harvest reef fish will be prohibited.

Aquacultured live rock permit

Possession or harvest of cultivated live rock. Appropriate Florida state permits are also required to land live rock in Florida. Wild live rock possession or harvest is prohibited.

Allowable octocoral permit

Harvest or possession of allowable octocoral, other than allowable octocoral that is landed in Florida. Appropriate Florida state permits are required to land allowable octocoral in Florida.

Atlantic bluefin tuna permit - General category

Atlantic bluefin tuna permit - Charter/headboat

Atlantic bluefin tuna permit - Harpoon boat

Atlantic bluefin tuna permit - Purse seine boat

Atlantic bluefin tuna permit - Incidental catch

Vessels must have one of these permits to sell Atlantic bluefin tuna. Separate quota and gear restrictions apply to each category. An Atlantic bluefin permit will not be issued for more than one category.

Tuna (other )permit - Commercial

Tuna (other )permit - Charter/headboat

Vessels must have one of these permits to sell albacore, Atlantic bonito, bigeye tuna, skipjack tuna or yellowfin tuna.(An Atlantic bluefin permit, shark permit, or swordfish permit is also valid to harvest "other" tuna.) Purse seine harvest is restricted to those vessels with Atlantic bluefin tuna permits that reported landings of "other" tunas during 1989-1993.

Swordfish vessel permit

Commercial harvest and sale of swordfish under quota.

Shark vessel permit

Harvest and sale of sharks listed in the management unit of the Atlantic Sharks Fishery Management Plan under quota and in excess of the bag limits.

Applications for permits may be obtained from National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, Koger Building, 9721 Executive Center Drive, St. Petersburg, Florida 33702 (telephone 813-570-5326), except for tuna permits, which may be obtained by dialing 800-USA-TUNA..