Recreational Harvest of Marine Life (Aquarium) Species

News: A commercial daily trip and vessel limit of 200 individual sea cucumbers will be established and put into effect June 11, 2014.


Requirements for Recreational Marine Life Harvest

  • Recreational saltwater fishing licenseSchoolmaster in the Florida Keys
  • 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
  • State regulations for marine life apply in federal waters

  • Allowable Gear:
    • Hand collection
    • Hand held net: a landing or dip net. A portion of the bag may be constructed of clear plastic material rather than mesh.
    • Drop net: a small, usually circular net with weights attached along the outer edge and a single float in the center, used by a diver to enclose and concentrate tropical fish.
    • Barrier net (fence net): a seine used beneath the surface of the water by a diver to enclose and concentrate tropical fish. The net may be made of nylon or monofilament.
    • Slurp gun: a self-contained, handheld device that captures tropical fish by rapidly drawing seawater containing such fish into a closed chamber.
    • Use of quinaldine is prohibited.
    • Use of power tools for harvest of octocorals is prohibited
  • Bag Limit: 20 organisms per person per day; only 5 of any one species allowed within the 20-organism bag limit unless otherwise noted. See charts below for more details.
  • Possession Limit: 2-day possession limit, 40 total organisms, no more than 10 of any one species allowed.
  • Allowable substrate: see species specifications in tables.
  • Various closed areas exist. See regulations for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, national wildlife refuges and Florida's State Parks before collecting in these areas.
  • Sale of recreationally caught marine life organisms is prohibited.

† Some organisms have additional gear limitations.  See charts below for more details.

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


Regulated Marine Life Species, Size Limits, and Other Restrictions:

Marine Life - Fish
Species Remarks* Size Limits (total length unless otherwise noted)
Angelfish (Family Pomacanthidae)  5 angelfish per person/per day Angelfish (Pomacanthus family) including hybrids: 1 1/2 -8" slot limit               
Angelfish (Holacanthus family) except rock beauty: 1 3/4 -8" slot limit               
Rock Beauty (Holacanthus tricolor): 2-5" slot limit
Butterflyfish (Family Chaetodontidae)   1-4" slot limit
Filefish/Triggerfish (Family Balistidae) Except Gray Triggerfish (Balistes capriscus), Ocean Triggerfish (Canthidermis sufflamen) and unicorn filefish  
Gobies (Family Gobiidae)   Maximum size limit: 2"
Hamlets/Seabasses (Family Serranidae) Except reef fish** and Longtail Bass (Hemanthias leptus)  
Jawfish (Family Opistognathidae)   Maximum size limit: 4"
Parrotfish (Family Scaridae)   Maximum size limit: 12"
Porkfish (Anisotremus virginicus)   Minimum size limit: 1 1/2"
Tangs and Surgeonfish (Family Acanthuridae)   Maximum size limit (fork length): 9"
Wrasse/ Hogfish/ Razorfish (Family Labridae) Except Hog Snapper (Lachnolaimus maximus) Spanish Hogfish (Bodianus rufus): 2-8" slot limit
Cuban Hogfish (Bodianus pulchellus): 3-8" slot limit
 

Other Marine Life Fish Include*:

  • Balloonfish (Diodon holocanthus)
  • Basslets (Family Grammatidae)
  • Batfish (Family Ogcocephalidae)
  • Blackbar Soldierfish (Myripristis jacobus)
  • Blennies (Families Clinidae and Blenniidae)
  • Black Brotula (Stygnobrotula latebricola)
  • Key Brotula (Ogilbia cayorum)
  • Spotted Burrfish (Chilomycterus atringa)
  • Striped Burrfish (Chilomycterus schoepfi)
  • Cardinalfish (Family Apogonidae)
  • Clingfish (Family Gobiesocidae)
  • Cornetfish (Family Fistulariidae)
  • Damselfish (Family Pomacentridae)
  • Moray Eels (Family Muraenidae)
  • Snake Eels (Genera Myrichthys and Myrophis of the Family Ophichthidae)
  • Frogfish (Family Antennariidae)
  • Hawkfish (Family Cirrhitidae)
  • High-hat/Jackknife-fish/Spotted Drum/Cubbyu (Genus Equetus of the Family Sciaenidae)
  • Porcupinefish (Diodon hystrix)
  • Sharpnose Puffer (Canthigaster rostrata)
  • Reef Croakers (Odontoscion dentex)
  • Seahorses and Pipefish (Family Syngnathidae)
  • Sleepers (Family Eleotridae)
  • Yellow Stingray (Urobatis jamaicensis)
  • Sweepers (Family Pempheridae)
  • Toadfish (Family Batrachoididae)
  • Trumpetfish (Family Aulostomidae)
  • Trunkfish/Cowfish (Family Ostraciidae)

*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).

**Such as groupers, snappers, seabass and amberjacks. Must abide by regulations for these species in Rule 68B-14 F.A.C. icon_external.png.


Marine Life - Invertebrates
Species Remarks*
Anemones (Orders Actiniaria, Zoanthidea, Corallimorpharia, and Ceriantharia)

Giant anemone (condylactis gigantea) prohibited.

Corallimorphs and Zoanthids: No more than 5 single polyps of each may be landed per person per day, must be harvested with a flexible blade no wider than 2" such as a putty knife, razor blade, or paint scraper.

Conch, Queen (Strombus gigas) Harvest prohibited
Corals, Hard (Stony) (Order Scleractinia) Harvest prohibited, including black coral.
Corals, Soft (Subclass Octocorallia) No more than 6 octocoral colonies per person per day or 70,000 colonies annually; harvest of attached substrate within 1" of base is permitted; harvest closes in response to federal octocoral closures; Harvest of Venus Sea Fan (Gorgonia flabellum) and Common (Purple) Sea Fan (Gorgonia ventalina) prohibited. Areas closed to octocoral harvest in Atlantic federal waters off Florida: Atlantic federal waters north of Cape Canaveral, Stetson-Miami Terrace Coral Habitat Area of Particular Concern (CHAPC) and Pourtales Terrace CHAPC
Crab, Hermit (Families Diogenidae, Paguridae, Parapaguridae, and Pylochelidae) Except Land Hermit Crabs (Family Coenobitidae)
Crab, Horseshoe (Limulus polyphemus) Recreational harvest prohibited
Live Rock Recreational harvest prohibited (includes rock made by sabellarid tubeworms)
Octopods (Order Octopoda) Except Common Octopus (Octopodus vulgaris)
Siphonophores/Hydroids (Class Hydrozoa) Harvest of Fire Coral (Family Milleporidae) prohibited
Sponges (Class Demospongiae, Order Dictyoceratida) Except Sheepswool, Yellow, Grass, Glove, Finger, Wire, Reef, and Velvet Sponges; 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
Starfish (Order Asteroidea) Harvest of Bahama Starfish (Oreaster reticulatus) prohibited
Urchins (Class Echinoidea) Except Sand Dollars & Sea Biscuits (Order Clypeasteroidea); harvest of Longspine Urchin (Diadema antillarum) prohibited

Other Marine Life Invertebrates Include*:

  • Brittlestars (Class Ophiuroidea)
  • Decorator (Furcate Spider) Crab (Stenocionops furcatus)
  • False Arrow Crab (Metoporhaphis calcarata)
  • Green Clinging (Emerald) Crab (Mithraculus sculptus)
  • Nimble Spray (Urchin) Crab (Percnon gibbesi)
  • Red Mithrax Crab (Mithraculus ruber)
  • Red Ridged Clinging Crab (Mithraculus forceps)
  • Spotted Porcelain Crab (Porcellana sayana)
  • Yellowline Arrow Crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis)
  • Fileclams (Genus Lima)
  • Upside-down Jellyfish (Genus Cassiopea)
  • Nudibranchs/Sea Slugs (Subclass Opisthobranchia)
  • Sea Cucumbers (Class Holothuroidea)
  • Sea Lilies (Class Crinoidea)
  • Cleaner/Peppermint Shrimp (Genera Periclimenesor Lysmata)
  • Coral Shrimp (Genus Stenopus)
  • Snapping Shrimp (Family Alpheidae)
  • Nassarius Snails (Genus Nassarius)
  • Starsnails (Lithopoma americanum, Lithopoma tectum, Astralium phoebium)
  • Featherduster Worms/Calcareous Tube Worms (Families Sabellidae and Serpulidae).

*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).


 

Marine Life - Plants
Species Remarks
Algae, Coralline Red (Family Corallinaceae) One gallon of tropical ornamental marine plants per day in any combination; 2 gallon maximum possession limit
Caulerpa (Family Caulerpaceae)
Halimeda/Mermaid's Fan/Mermaid's Shaving Brush (Family Udoteaceae)

Recreational collection of up to 100 pounds or 2 organisms per person per day (whichever is greater) of unregulated species is permitted with a recreational saltwater fishing license.  To collect greater quantities of unregulated species, a saltwater products license is required.



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