Hurricane Irma Governor Recognition

License-Free Fishing for Florida’s First Responders and Electric Utility Workers for Hurricane Irma Response Efforts


General Information:


Governor Rick Scott announced in Sept. 2017 that Florida’s law enforcement officers and first responders External Website, as well as linemen and electric utility workers External Website, will be able to enjoy license-free freshwater and saltwater fishing through June 30, 2018.  This is in recognition and appreciation of their lifesaving work preparing and responding to Hurricane Irma.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Who is eligible?  This free fishing opportunity is available to Florida residents who helped with Hurricane Irma response and recovery efforts either as a first responder OR electric utility worker.

Who is considered a first responder?  As defined in Florida Statute 112.1815, a first responder would include law enforcement officers External Website, firefighters External Website, emergency medical technicians External Website and paramedics External Website employed by state or local government.  This does not include corrections or probations officers.

Who is considered an electric utility worker?  Any employee of a Florida municipal, cooperative, or private electric company.

When is this effective?  Governor Scott announced that Florida law enforcement officers and first responders would be exempt as of Sept. 21, 2017.  The Governor also included linemen and utility workers as of Sept. 22, 2017.  All are exempt from fishing license requirements through June 30, 2018.

Do I need to obtain a certain license card?  No.  The FWC will accept official first responder or electric utility credentials in lieu of a Florida fishing license during this period.

Do I have to fish from the shoreline, or does this cover me from a boat?  This includes all recreational fishing, from the shoreline or from a boat.

Do I still need snook and lobster permits?  No.  Florida first responders and electric utility workers are exempt from the recreational saltwater fishing licenses, and will also be exempt from snook and lobster permits during this period.

What about the Gulf Reef Fish designation?  All recreational anglers who intend to fish for reef fish from a private vessel in the Gulf of Mexico will still be required to sign up for the Gulf Reef Fish Survey.  This no-cost designation is available online at External Website or in-person at a Florida tax collector office External Website or license agent External Website, and is titled “Gulf Reef Fish Angler – First Responder/Utility.”

Can I keep a child’s or someone else’s bag limit?  No – anglers may not exceed their individual bag limit and take someone else's bag limit.  Also, bag limits are only for licensed or exempt individuals who are actively harvesting.  Those who are not actively harvesting, or are not licensed or exempt, may not be counted for purposes of bag limits.  This includes children.

Where can I find more information about fishing in Florida?  Information on recreational regulations, news, fish identification, angler programs, and many other resources can be found on the FWC website at  Boating resources can also be found at

How can I get fishing licenses for my family to also fish?  Fishing licenses and permits can be purchased online at External Website, by phone at 888-347-4356, or in-person at a Florida tax collector office External Website or license agent External Website.

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