Renew and pay for trap tags online at MyFWC.com/CLS.
Before commercially harvesting or selling any marine fish or other saltwater products in Florida, you must be eligible for and comply with the license requirements described on this page.
Licenses and Requirements
Additional Information and Requirements
Saltwater Products License (SPL)
2015-16 Saltwater Products License Application Form
2014-15 Saltwater Products License Application Form
A saltwater product is defined as any marine fish, shellfish, clam, invertebrate, sponge, jellyfish, coral, crustacean, lobster, crab, shrimp, snail, marine plant, echinoderm, sea star, brittle star or urchin, etc.; except non-living shells and salted, cured, canned or smoked seafood. You must have the SPL to commercially harvest and sell saltwater products, and you may sell only to a licensed Florida wholesale dealer. An SPL may be issued in the name of an individual or a valid commercial vessel registration number issued in the name of the license applicant. Any vessel used to harvest commercial quantities of saltwater products must have a commercial vessel registration. This license is not transferable or refundable if the vessel is sold.
Individual Saltwater Products License
The Individual SPL will cover the individual listed on the card for commercial fishing on any commercially registered vessel, the shore or structures affixed to the shore such as piers, docks, and bridges. It will also act as the card holders’ recreational saltwater license. A commercial fisherman can hold only one Individual or Crew SPL at a time.
Crew Saltwater Products License
A Crew SPL will cover the individual listed on the license and anyone with them for commercial fishing on board any commercially registered vessel. The individual listed must be present on board the vessel for the license to be valid. The license will also cover the individual listed for commercial fishing from the shore or structures affixed to the shore such as piers, docks, and bridges. It will also act as the card holders’ recreational saltwater license. A commercial fisherman can hold only one Individual or Crew SPL at a time.
Vessel Saltwater Products License
A Vessel SPL will be issued to a vessel that is registered for commercial use. The license will cover all individuals on board, up to what the United States Coast Guard deems safe, for commercial fishing. Persons on board the vessel will be covered under the license and the endorsements that are on the Vessel SPL. An applicant can hold more than one Vessel SPL. The vessel must be titled or leased to the applicant at the time of application. A Vessel SPL license is not transferable if the vessel is sold or damaged.
An SPL is required to do any of the following:
- Sell, barter or exchange for merchandise any saltwater products;
- Harvest over 100 pounds or 2 saltwater fish per person per day (whichever is greater) for species that do not have an established bag limit; or
- Use certain gear or equipment as specified by law.
Restricted Species Endorsement (RS) (Application Form)
Restricted Species (RS) Endorsement Application Form
Restricted Species (RS) Endorsement Application Form - Resident Military Veterans
The Restricted Species endorsement is required for those wishing to sell species designated as a "restricted species".
To qualify for and renew the RS, you must provide acceptable proof that a specified amount or percentage of your total annual income (usually $5,000 or 25 percent) during one of the past three years is attributable to reported landings and sales of non-restricted saltwater products to a Florida wholesale dealer.
How to qualify for the RS (additional forms and information)
Spiny Lobster (C) (RS Required)
The Spiny Lobster endorsement allows commercial fisherman to harvest Spiny Lobster in commercial quantities by either Bullynet or Hoop Net. Traps may be used if the commercial fisherman holds Spiny Lobster Trap Tags. See Below for Commercial Dive information.
Stone Crab (X) (RS Required)
The Stone Crab endorsement allows commercial fisherman to harvest Stone Crab in commercial quantities. The use of Stone Crab taps requires trap tags.
Pompano (P) (RS Required)
Pompano Endorsement Application
The Pompano endorsement allows a commercial fisher to simultaneously possess a gill net and pompano harvested from federal waters while in transit across state waters between Cape Sable and Hurricane Pass.
Blue Crab Incidental (VI) (RS, X or Shrimp Sales Required)
Persons possessing a valid stone crab endorsement or can who demonstrate landings of shrimp will qualify for a blue crab incidental take endorsement. The holder of an Incidental take will be entitled to harvest and sell no more than 200 pounds of blue crab as bycatch.
Stone Crab Incidental Take (VI) (RS, VH or C)
Persons possessing valid crawfish or blue crab endorsements, but who do not also possess a valid stone crab endorsement, may land and sell 5 gallons of stone crab claws per day if the stone crab claws are harvested from legal crawfish or blue crab traps and the crawfish or blue crab endorsement holder also possesses a valid stone crab incidental take endorsement
Purse Seine (PS)
A purse seine endorsement authorizes the holder to use Purse Seine gear.
Lampara Net (L) (PS Required)
The Lampara Net endorsement allows a commercial fisherman to harvest more than 10 gallons of ballyhoo per vessel per day. A Lampara Net Endorsement allows for the direct harvest of ballyhoo with a Lampara net by individuals who also hold the SPL and Purse Seine Endorsement (PS). No new endorsements will be issued however the endorsement may be transferred between applicants. To requalify a Lampara Net endorsement, the endorsement holder must document landings of at least 10,000 pounds of ballyhoo, or 55,000 individual ballyhoo, per Lampara net endorsement in any one of the three most recent license years. Once requalified, the endorsement will be valid for three license years, but must still be renewed annually.
A sponge endorsement authorizes the holder of a Saltwater Products License to commercially harvest and sell sponges.
Shellfish Endorsement (BV)
The Shellfish endorsement is required of all fisherman who are harvesting shellfish and do not have the Apalachicola Bay Oyster Harvesting License, unless they are harvesting from an aquaculture lease under the authority of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
NOTE: The following endorsements must be renewed by the close of business on September 30 each year or will forfeit to the state. If it is postmarked on or after October 1, the endorsement will be considered forfeit. Forfeited endorsements will not be reissued.
Blue Crab – (VH/VS/VN) (RS Required)
A Blue Crab endorsement authorizes the holder of a Saltwater Products License and a Restricted Species Endorsement to commercially harvest blue crabs and to sell them to a licensed wholesale dealer. A tag is required for each trap used.If the application for renewal is mailed, it must be postmarked by September 30, if it is postmarked on or after October 1, the endorsement will the endorsement will be permanently forfeited to the commission. No new endorsements will be issued however the endorsement may be transferred between applicants.
Marine Life (MLD, MLB MLN) (RS Required)
A Marine Life endorsement allows a commercial fisherman to harvest species designated as “Marine Life” including “Live Shellfish” species such as urchins, starfish, star snails, sand dollars. If the application for renewal is mailed, it must be postmarked by September 30, if it is postmarked on or after October 1, the endorsement will the endorsement will be permanently forfeited to the commission. No new endorsements will be issued however the endorsement may be transferred between applicants.
Marine Life Species List
Quinaldine (SA) (MLD or MLN Required)
Allows the commercial fisherman to use Quinaldine while harvesting species designated and Marine Life. Applicants must hold a valid SPL with a Marine Life Endorsement.
Commercial Dive Permit (C#-D) (RS Required)
This permit is required to commercially dive for Spiny Lobster. Eligibility for the dive permit was based on reported commercial dive landings in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 license year. No new dive permits are available, and no new permits will be issued based on past qualification. The permit will not be issued to fishermen with trap certificates. If the application for renewal is mailed, it must be postmarked by September 30, if it is postmarked on or after October 1, the endorsement will the endorsement will be permanently forfeited to the commission.
Trap tags are required for those commercial fishermen wishing to commercially harvest spiny lobster, blue crab and stone crab with traps. The FWC assesses certificate and tag fees and ships tags.
Buying and selling trap tags
Trap, Buoy and Vessel Marking Requirements
Tampa Bay Shrimp Production License (TB)
This permit allows fisherman to commercially harvest shrimp within the boundaries of Tampa Bay. The permit is only available for renewal and is non transferrable under any circumstance. This license must be renewed each year or it will be considered forfeit.
St Johns Rivers Live Shrimp Production License (LS) (Application Form)
The Live Shrimp Productions license is available for renewal only. No new applications will be accepted. The DS allows a commercial fisherman to harvest live bait shrimp in the inland waters of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler, and Clay Counties. Applicants must hold a wholesale dealers license. Applications are only accepted between June 1 and July 31 each year.
St Johns Commercial Food Shrimp Production License (DS) (Application Form)
The Commercial Food Shrimp Productions license allows a commercial fisherman to harvest food shrimp in the inland waters of Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler, and Clay Counties. No new licenses will be issued, however, the license may be transferred to immediate family members.
Wholesale and Retail Dealers
Saltwater Wholesale Dealer License (WD)
A Saltwater Wholesale Dealer license is required to purchase saltwater products from persons holding an SPL or another licensed from other licensed wholesale dealer and to sell saltwater products to any licensed wholesale dealer, retail dealer or restaurant. Wholesale dealers must report purchases to the Commission when products are landed or sold for the first time.
- A County Wholesale License allows an Individual or Corporation to conduct business in the county specified on the license. They are not able to purchase, sell, import or export saltwater products outside the county designated on the license
- A Statewide Wholesale License allows an Individual or Corporation to purchase, sell, import, and export saltwater products into or out of Florida and ship saltwater products to other counties or out of state. It also authorizes the purchase of saltwater products in any county in Florida.
Retail Central License (RC)
Retail Saltwater Products Dealer licenseis required to sell any saltwater products to the end consumer. A retail dealer may purchase only from a wholesale dealer. The RC is not required when products are prepared for consumption or take-out under a license issued by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.
Retail Other License (RO)
All retail locations are required to be licensed to retail saltwater products. Any additional retail location after the first Retail Central location will be licensed as a “Retail Other”. All the same rules and regulations that apply to the Retail Central license also apply to the Retail Other license.
Transporting or Importing Saltwater Products
A person transporting saltwater products in this state, regardless of destination, must maintain possession of invoices, bills of lading or other similar documentation showing the number of packages, boxes or containers and the number of pounds of each species and the name, physical address and the Florida wholesale dealer number of the dealer of origin.
To import and sell saltwater products (including aquaria, fish, shrimp, crabs, etc.) you will need a Saltwater Wholesale Dealers license.
A complete copy of the applicable rules can be found in Chapter 379, Florida Statutes and Chapters 68B and 68E, Florida Administrative Code, or by contacting the licensing program.