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Marine Life

Marine life Collage

Florida's commercial marine life fishery involves harvest of live saltwater finfish, invertebrates and plants, primarily for the aquarium trade. These organisms are landed and sold alive to wholesalers, retailers and aquarium owners.  An SPL with a Restricted Species (RS) and Marine Life tiered endorsement is required for harvest of marine life species listed in rule 68B-42, F.A.C. These regulations help control fishing effort in the commercial marine life fishery. 

Types of Marine Life Endorsements

Marine Life Transferable Dive (MLD)

Required to harvest commercial quantities of listed marine life species using allowable gears, including harvest by diving. Initially issued to applicants with a reported income of at least $5,000 from landings of marine life species or live rock during one of the license years between July 1, 1999 and June 30, 2003.  The MLD is transferrable to another person with an SPL & RS. Requalification for this endorsement began in 2010/2011, based on prior years' landings.

A person renewing an MLD must document landings of $5,000 of marine life species as defined by Rule 68B-42.001, FAC, in one of the previous three license years or hold a live rock state lease or federal permit and have documented live rock landings value of greater than or equal to $5,000 during any one of the previous three license years. This endorsement is valid for three years from the date of documentation used to qualify, but must be renewed annually.

Marine Life Bycatch Endorsement (MLB)

Required to harvest commercial quantities of marine life as bycatch which does not include harvest by diving.  For persons who collected marine life primarily as bycatch in other fisheries, with gear other than diving gear, and with reported sales of less than $5000 during one of the qualifying years.  The bycatch endorsement is also transferable.

 

Marine Life Non-Transferable Dive (MLN)

Required to harvest commercial quantities of marine life by diving using gear for persons who had less than $5000 in marine life landings or held a state live rock lease or federal live rock permit during one of the qualifying years and wish to harvest by diving.  This endorsement is only transferrable to immediate family members in the event of death or disability.

Marine Life - Fish

Includes blue, queen, french and gray angelfish; cherubfish; and rock beauty

Bag Limits/Remarks

75 per person per day or 150 per vessel per day, whichever is less (vessel limit does not require a second ML endorsement).

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

Gray and french angelfish: 1 ½ - 8" TL

Blue and queen angelfish: 1 ¾ - 8" TL

Rock beauty: 2 - 5" TL

Includes peppermint, candy, and wrasse basslet; creolefish, and soapfish

For other basslets and sea basses: 

Excludes seabass of the genus Centropristis, longtail bass Hemanthias leptus, Sandperch Diplectrum formosum and Dwarf Sandperch Diplectrum biutattum. See reef fish regulations 68B-14 F.A.C.

Examples include roughtongue, lantern, chalk, harlequin, belted sandfish, red barbier, Spanish flag, threadnose, and tobaccofish bass; and threeline and cave basslet

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

For other basslets and sea basses: 

Harvest of basslets and sea basses of the genera Hypoplectrus, Serranus, Schultzea, Paranthias, Liopropoma, and Diplectrum prohibited in Pennekamp State Park. 

Size Limits

Minimum size limit of 8" TL for all other sea bass species within Pennekamp State Park unless otherwise established by law

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include banded, Florida, hairy, saddled, wrasse, sailfin, barred, glass, marbled, and redlip blennies

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

9" FL maximum 

Includes key and black brotula; and cusk-eel

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day for key and black brotula

Size Limits

8" TL minimum within Pennekamp State Park 

Includes striped (=spiny boxfish) and spotted burrfish; balloonfish, and porcupinefish 

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Includes french, bank, longsnout, banded, foureye, reef, and spotfin butterflyfish 

Bag Limits/Remarks

50 per person per day per unique SPL number with a ML endorsement; maximum possession limit of 100 aboard a vessel with 2 unique SPL numbers with ML endorsements  

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

1 - 4" TL

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include blue-spotted and red cornetfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include scrawled and honeycomb cowfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Includes threespot, cocoa, bicolor, and yellowtail damselfish; blue and brown chromis; purple and yellow reefish; and sunshinefish, beaugregory, and sergeant major

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Including spotted, jackknife-fish, high-hat, and cubbyu drum; and reef croaker 

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include pygmy, whitespotted, orangespotted, planehead (=green), and scrawled (=blue spot) filefish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include ocellated frogfish and sargassumfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include neon, naked, and yellowline gobies

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

2" TL maximum

 

tomtate

Examples include french, cottonwick, and tomtate

Bag Limits/Remarks

Federal reef fish permit required in Atlantic federal waters 

75 per person or 150 per vessel with two or more unique saltwater products license numbers with marine life endorsements abroad per day. 

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day

Size Limits

None

Examples include barred, black, blue, butter, shy, mutton, and indigo hamlets

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Except Hogfish snapper

Includes cuban (spotfin) hogfish and spanish hogfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

50 per day per unique SPL number with a ML endorsement; maximum possession limit of 100 Spanish and Cuban hogfish combined aboard a vessel at any time with two or more unique SPL numbers with ML endorsements aboard.

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

Spanish Hogfish: 2 - 8" TL Cuban Hogfish: 3 - 8" TL

Examples include yellowhead, spotfin, and dusky jawfish 

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

4" TL maximum 

 

 

Bag Limits/Remarks

None

 

Size Limits

8" TL minimum in Pennekamp State Park

Examples include blackedged (=chain), green, goldentail, and spotted moray

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include blue, midnight, princess, queen, rainbow, redband, stoplight, and striped parrotfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

12" TL maximum

Examples include sargassum pipefish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limit

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

75 per person or 150 per vessel with two or more unique saltwater products license numbers with marine life endorsements abroad per day. 

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day

Size Limits

1 ½" TL minimum

Examples include sharpnose and southern pufferfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

Harvest of genus Sphoeroides prohibited in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin counties.

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. 

Size Limits

None

Includes yellow stingray; unregulated ray examples include butterfly, eagle, lesser electric, and southern rays

Bag Limits/Remarks

For yellow stingray MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Harvest of spotted eagle ray and manta rays prohibited.

Size Limits

8" TL minimum within Pennekamp State Park.

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

 

 

Size Limits

8" TL minimum in Pennekamp State Park

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Includes dwarf, lined, and longsnout seahorse 

Bag Limits/Remarks

400 dwarf seahorses per person or vessel per day, whichever is less. Can use seahorse trawl defined in 68B-42.007(g), F.A.C. for dwarf seahorses. 

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. 

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

 

Size Limits

8" minimum size limit in Pennekamp State Park

Examples include goldspotted, sharptail, and speckled worm snake eels

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include queen and black durgon triggerfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

Regulations in 68B-42 F.A.C. do not apply to ocean triggerfish (Canthidermis sufflamen) or gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus). See 68B-14 F.A.C. for gray triggerfish regulations.

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include spotted trunkfish

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 FAC limited to 20 total marine life finfish per day.

Collection prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Size Limits

None

Examples include creole, clown, yellowhead, slippery dick, bluehead, blackear, and puddingwife

Bag Limits/Remarks

MLB endorsement holders using special gears other than those listed in 68B-42.007 F.A.C.:  20 total marine life finfish per day.

Harvest of genera Clepticus, Halichoeres, Hemipteronotus, Thalassoma, Decodon, Doratonotus, and Bodianus prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Federal reef fish permit required for harvest of puddingwife in Atlantic federal water. 

Size Limit

Minimum size limit of 8" TL for all other species within Pennekamp State Park unless otherwise established by law.

Examples include fringed, naked, and flabby zebra sole

Bag Limits/Remarks

Harvest prohibited in Pennekamp State Park

Size Limits

None

Common Names

Short bigeye, threadfins, tonguefish, stargazers, sea chubs, yellow goatfish, dwarf goatfish, glasseye snapper, pikeblenny, bigeyes, bonnetmouths, congers, dragonets, false morays, goatfishes, muraenesocids, pikeblennies, sand stargazers, scorpionfishes, soles, and spaghetti eels

See 68-5.002, F.A.C. for complete list of species and additional regulations

Marine Life - Invertebrates

Bag Limits/Remarks

Giant Caribbean anemone (Condylactis gigantea) prohibited

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells (includes Echinoderms) of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County. Harvest of queen conch (Strombus gigas) is prohibited. 

Bag Limits/Remarks

Must be harvested as single polyps only

100 single corallimorph polyps per unique SPL number with a marine life endorsement; maximum possession limit of 200 single corallimorph polyps aboard a vessel at any time with two or more unique SPL numbers with marine life endorsements aboard. 

Polyps must be harvested individually using a flexible blade, such as a putty knife, razor blade, or paint scraper, with a blade no wider than 2 inches. 

Bag Limits/Remarks

Harvest of hard (stony), fire, and black corals prohibited

 

Bag Limits/Remarks

For Emerald Crab:

400 per person or per vessel per day, whichever is less

For Blue-legged Hermit Crab: 

1 quart per person or per vessel per day, whichever is less

For Red-legged Hermit Crab:

1 quart per day per unique SPL number with ML endorsement; vessel possession limit of 2 quarts with 2 or more unique SPL numbers with ML endorsements 

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

25 per person per day with SPL

100 per person per day with SPL, RS, and ML endorsement

100 per person per day with SPL and commercial freshwater eel permit

Temporary possession of unlimited number of live horseshoe crabs with Horseshoe Crab Biomedical Collection Permit

Bag Limits/Remarks

Harvest of fire coral (millepora spp.) is prohibited. 

Bag Limits/Remarks

Aquaculture only; live rock lease and/or state and/or federal permit required; includes live rock created by Sabellarid tube worms.

Bag Limits/Remarks

For Caribbean Spiny Lobster:

Size limit: Not less than 3" carapace (measured underwater when harvested by diving). 

Bullynet: 250 per vessel per day; Dive: 250 per vessel per day in Broward, Dade, Monroe, Collier, and Lee counties and adjoining federal waters; Traps: no limit

For other Spiny Lobsters:

Harvest of egg bearing females prohibited. Harvest of genus Panulirus prohibited in certain areas of Pennekamp State Park, see 68B-24.0065, F.A.C. See 68B-24 and 68B-11, F.A.C. for regulations and closed areas for Caribbean spiny lobster (crawfish) Panulirus argus

For slipper lobster:

Harvest of egg-bearing female prohibited

Bag Limits/Remarks

octocorals

Harvest of sea fans Gorgonia flabellum and Gorgonia ventalina prohibited. Harvest of substrate within (1) inch of the holdfast at the base of the octocoral is allowed as long as substrate remains attatched to the octocoral. 

Encrusting forms do not meet the definition of an octocoral in 68B-42.002, F.A.C. and may not be harvested

Annual harvest quota in state and federal waters is 70,000 colonies; closes to harvest in state and federal waters until the following Oct. 1 if quota is reached. 

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells (includes Echinoderms) of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

200 daily trip and vessel limit.

Bag limit of 2 live shells (includes Echinoderms) of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

Harvest of Venus Sea Fan and Common Sea Fan prohibited

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells (includes Echinoderms) of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County. Harvest of Long-spine Urchin prohibited

Bag Limits/Remarks

For peppermint shrimp bycatch gears not limited to recreational bag limit

Bag Limits/Remarks

1 gallon starsnails (L. americanum, L. tectum, or Astralium phoebium) combined per day per unique SPL number with ML endorsement; 2 gallon vessel possession limit with 2 or more unique SPL numbers with ML endorsements. 

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County. 

Bag Limits/Remarks

In state waters north of a line extending due west from the southernmost point of Egmont Key in the Gulf of Mexico, ornamental sponges can be collected with substrate within 1 inch of the perimeter of the holdfast at the base of the sponge and extending 1 inch below the holdfast of the sponge. No substrate allowed south of Egmont key. Sheepswool, yellow, grass, glove, finger, wire, reef and velvet sponges not included in marine life regulations; see commercial sponge rule (68B-28, F.A.C.) for regulations.    

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells (includes Echinoderms) of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County. Harvest of the Bahama sea star (Cushion sea star) prohibited

Bag Limits/Remarks

None

Includes: Featherduster Worms and Calcareous Tube Worms

Bag Limits/Remarks

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

Bag limit of 2 live shells of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

Bag Limits/Remarks

None

Bag Limits/Remarks

1 gallon zoanthid polyps per day per unique SPL number with a ML endorsement; maximum possession limit of 2 gallons aboard a vessel at any time with two or more unique SPL numbers with ML endorsements aboard. 

Polyps must be harvested using a flexible blade, such as a putty knife, razor blade, or paint scraper with a blade no wider than 2 inches. 

Symbol Key

Other Marine Life invertebrates include: Decorator (Furcate Spider) Crab, False Arrow Crab, Nimble Spray (Urchin) Crab, Red Mithrax Crab, Red Ridged Clinging Crab, Spotted Porcelain Crab, Yellowline Arrow Crab, Fileclams, Sea Lilies, Cleaner Shrimp, Coral Shrimp, Snapping Shrimp, Nassarius Snails.

Marine Life plants include: Coralline red algae, Caulerpa, Halimeda/Mermaid's Fan/Mermaid's Shaving Brush

 

Blue Heron Bridge

Blue Heron Boundry

All collection of Marine Life (aquarium species) at the Blue Heron Bridge dive site in Palm Beach County is prohibited. Prohibitions do not apply to other fishing activities, such as hook-and-line fishing. (Boundaries pictured to right.)