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FWC’s Atlantic Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) Project

The application period for the Quarter 1 is closed. Thank you to everyone who applied, and we will get back to all applicants as soon as possible. Applications for Quarter 2 will open October 1.

Welcome

Welcome to FWC’s Atlantic Red Snapper Exempted Fishing Permit Project website.  Please explore below to learn how to participate and get information about these EFPs, best fishing practices, Frequently Asked Questions, and how to apply.

Watch this welcome video to learn more about the project!

Summary of the Program

FWC has developed three separate Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) projects that may give you opportunities to fish for (and keep!) Atlantic red snapper outside of the one-day (July 12, 2024) federal recreational season to get better data and test new, innovative ideas aimed at reducing dead discards (fish caught alive but die after release). EFPs are permits that allow harvest for certain purposes otherwise prohibited under current federal regulations.

Program Objectives

  1. Directly collaborate with recreational anglers to collect catch and discard information within the snapper grouper fishery;
  2. Recruit recreational anglers to test a snapper grouper aggregate bag limit;
  3. Allow a select number of recreational anglers to harvest red snapper outside of the federal season, accompanied by a mandatory reporting requirement and provisions for validation;
  4. Develop a unique app to collect better recreational data and evaluate the effectiveness of the alternative management strategy tested as part of this study
  5. Develop an education course required for all participants that highlights fish identification, best fishing practices, and methods to safely descend fish experiencing barotrauma; and
  6. Evaluate angler satisfaction through pre- and post-participation surveys and semi-structured interviews.

Why is FWC doing this?

  • Better data and management are clearly needed for Atlantic red snapper. Like many fishermen, the FWC is also frustrated and concerned with the current management and state of the snapper grouper fisheries in the South Atlantic. For years, anglers have asked for ways to provide information about their fishing trips directly to FWC.
  • As a result, FWC has developed three separate EFP projects to test new, innovative ideas outside of the confines of normal federal fisheries management.
  • With your help, we hope to collaborate with you to collect better catch and discard data to improve the management of our snapper grouper fisheries!

Project Period

  • The three EFP projects will occur simultaneously over 12 months from August 2024 through July 2025.
  • Specifically, the project duration will be broken up into 4, 3-month quarters in order to allow the most harvest opportunities for anglers along the east coast of Florida.
    • Quarter 1: August 2024 to October 2024
    • Quarter 2: November 2024 to January 2025
    • Quarter 3: February 2025 to April 2025
    • Quarter 4: May 2025 to July 2025
  • The application period for each quarter will open the month prior (see details in Project Summaries Below)

FWC Hot Spot Fleet

  1. Who: Up to 200 private anglers will be selected by lottery every 3 months
  2. What: Each angler selected will be randomly assigned to a group, experimental or control, with different requirements for each group (see Project Summary below). Participants that are assigned to the experimental group will be allowed to harvest 3 red snapper/day on designated FWC Hot Spot Fleet fishing trips.
  3. Where: Cape Canaveral NASA Vehicle Assembly Building north to the Florida/Georgia line.
  4.  Application Dates (Fishing Dates):
    1. Application Quarter 1: July 8 - 17 (Fishing Quarter 1: August 1 - October 31)
    2. Application Quarter 2: October 1 – October 10 (Fishing Quarter 2: November 1 – January 31)
    3. Application Quarter 3: January 1 – January 10 (Fishing Quarter 3: February 1 – April 30)
    4. Application Quarter 4: April 1 – April 10 (Fishing Quarter 4: May 1 – July 31)
  1. Groups:
    • Experimental Group – 100 randomly assigned anglers from lottery
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 3 FWC Hot Spot Fleet fishing trips targeting snapper grouper during each quarter.
      • Allowed to harvest 3 red snapper per day outside of the 1-day federal season under an Exempted Fishing Permit.
      • Participants will be required to stop fishing for all snapper grouper species (i.e., bottom fishing) once they have reached the 15-fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit.
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
    • Control Group – 100 randomly assigned anglers from lottery
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 3 FWC Hot Spot Fleet fishing trips targeting snapper grouper during each quarter.
      • Must follow federal regulations; no additional red snapper harvest opportunities outside of the 1-day federal season. 
      • Not required to fish the snapper grouper aggregate.
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
      • Anglers randomly assigned to the Control Group will be eligible for further incentives and given preference points for the Experimental Group in future lottery drawings (should an angler reapply).  
  2. 15-fish Snapper Grouper Aggregate – Each Experimental Group participant must stop bottom fishing for snapper grouper species (i.e., can still target other species, like inshore fishes or pelagics) once they reach the snapper grouper-aggregate.
        • Only 1 fish can be a gag, black, or scamp grouper
        • Up to 2 fish can be red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind, or rock hind grouper
        • Only 1 fish can be a red porgy, blueline tilefish, or golden tilefish
        • Only 1 fish can be greater amberjack
        • Up to 3 fish can be lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish
        • Up to 5 fish can be black sea bass
        • Up to 5 fish can be gray triggerfish
        • Up to 10 fish can be grunts
        • Up to 10 fish can be Atlantic spadefish or bar jack
        • Up to 10 fish can be porgies (red porgy excluded)
        • Up to 10 can be schoolmaster, gray, lane, yellowtail, queen, silk, or blackfin snapper
        • Up to 5 can be vermilion, cubera, or mutton snapper
  1. Eligibility: If selected in the lottery, participants must have a valid Florida recreational fishing license (or be exempt as per Chapter 379.353 F.S.) and sign up for the State Reef Fish Angler designation. Any private recreational angler that does not have a resource violation would be eligible to participate in the Hot Spot Fleet.  
  2. Reporting: If selected in the lottery, participants must fill out a logbook of data for the trip and then must transfer this information to FWC’s app within 48 after the FWC Hot Spot Fleet trip is completed.  Type of information includes catch and discard data of species caught, areas fished, and time spent fishing.  Participants must schedule a FWC Hot Spot Fleet trip in FWC’s app and hail-in and hail-out for FWC Hot Spot Fleet trips.
  3. Education requirement (coming soon): If selected in the lottery, participants must take an educational course before fishing in a FWC Hot Spot Fleet trip.
  4. Dockside validation: If selected in the lottery, participants must be willing to submit to sampling of their catch by FWC biologists.
  5. Angler satisfaction survey: If selected in the lottery, participants must be willing to take a pre- and post-participation survey and be interviewed by FWC staff.
  6. Other requirements: Retain a copy of the EFP and SAL on-board the vessel used for FWC Hot Spot Fleet trips.
  1. Hook and line only
  2. Other state and federal gear regulations apply.

FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet

  1. Who: Up to 200 private anglers will be selected by lottery every 3 months
  2. What: Each angler selected will be randomly assigned to a group, experimental or control, with different requirements for each group (see Project Summary below). Participants that are assigned to the experimental group will be allowed to harvest 3 red snapper/day on designated FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet fishing trips.    
  3. Where: Cape Canaveral NASA Vehicle Assembly Building south to the Florida Keys.
    1. NOTE: Due to the requirements of the EFP, anglers participating in an FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trip will NOT be able to fish at the following Special Management Zones: Key Biscayne Artificial Reef, Ft. Pierce Offshore Reef, and Ft. Pierce Inshore Reef
  4. Application Dates (Fishing Dates):
    • Application Quarter 1: July 8 – 17 (Fishing Quarter 1: August 1 – October 31)
    • Application Quarter 2: October 1 – October 10 (Fishing Quarter 2: November 1 – January 31)
    • Application Quarter 3: January 1 – January 10 (Fishing Quarter 3: February 1 – April 30)
    • Application Quarter 4: April 1 – April 10 (Fishing Quarter 4: May 1 – July 31)
  1. Groups
    • Experimental Group – 100 randomly assigned anglers from lottery
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 2 FWC SE Florida Snapper Grouper Fleet fishing trips targeting snapper grouper during each quarter.
      • Allowed to harvest 3 red snapper per day outside of the 1-day federal season under an Exempted Fishing Permit.
      • Participants will be required to stop fishing for all snapper grouper species (i.e., bottom fishing) once they have reached the 15-fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit.
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
    • Control Group – 100 randomly assigned anglers from lottery
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 2 FWC SE Florida Snapper Grouper Fleet targeting snapper grouper during each quarter.
      • Must follow federal regulations; no additional red snapper harvest opportunities outside of the 1-day federal season. 
      • Not required to fish the snapper grouper aggregate.
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
      • Anglers randomly assigned to the Control Group will be eligible for further incentives and given preference points for the Experimental Group in future lottery drawings (should an angler reapply).
  2. 15-fish Snapper Grouper Aggregate – Each participant must stop bottom fishing for snapper grouper species (i.e., can still target other species, like inshore fishes or pelagics) once they reach the snapper grouper-aggregate.
    • Only 1 fish can be a gag, black, or scamp grouper
    • Up to 2 fish can be red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind, or rock hind grouper
    • Only 1 fish can be a red porgy, blueline tilefish, or golden tilefish
    • Only 1 fish can be greater amberjack
    • Up to 3 fish can be lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish
    • Up to 5 fish can be black sea bass
    • Up to 5 fish can be gray triggerfish
    • Up to 10 fish can be grunts
    • Up to 10 fish can be Atlantic spadefish or bar jack
    • Up to 10 fish can be porgies (red porgy excluded)
    • Up to 10 can be schoolmaster, gray, lane, yellowtail, queen, silk, or blackfin snapper
    • Up to 5 can be vermilion, cubera, or mutton snapper
  1. Eligibility: If selected in the lottery, participants must have a valid Florida recreational fishing license (or be exempt as per Chapter 379.353 F.S.) and sign up for the State Reef Fish Angler designation. Any private recreational angler that does not have a resource violation would be eligible to participate in the FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet.  
  2. Reporting: If selected in the lottery, participants must fill out a logbook of data for the trip and then must transfer this information to FWC’s app within 48 hours after the FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trip is completed.  Type of information includes catch and discard data at the species level, areas fished, and time spent fishing.  Participants must schedule a FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trip in FWC’s app and hail-in and hail-out for FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trips. 
  3. Education requirement (coming soon): If selected in the lottery, FWC participants must take a 3-part module educational course before fishing in a FWC SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trip.
  4. Dockside validation: If selected in the lottery, participants must be willing to submit to sampling of their catch by FWC biologists.
  5. Angler satisfaction survey: If selected in the lottery, participants must be willing to take a pre- and post-participation survey and be interviewed by FWC staff.
  6. Other requirements: Retain a copy of the EFP and SAL on-board the vessel used for SE FL Snapper Grouper Fleet trips.
  1. Hook and line only
  2. Other state and federal gear regulations apply.

FWC Study Fleet

  1. Who: 5 private recreational captains and 5 charter captains will be selected every 3 months
  2. What: On approved FWC Study Fleet trips (maximum of 4 per quarter), each captain selected will report catch and discard data for each angler aboard their vessel, be allowed a vessel limit of 36 red snapper, require individual anglers to stop targeted snapper grouper fishing (i.e., bottom fishing) once they reach their respective 15-fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit, be required to have the vessel stop targeted snapper grouper fishing once the snapper- grouper aggregate bag limit of 15-fish has been met for all anglers or the vessel limit of 36 red snapper has been met (whichever occurs first).    
  3. Where: Cape Canaveral NASA Vehicle Assembly Building north to the Florida/Georgia line.
  4. Application Dates (Fishing Dates):
    • Application Quarter 1: July 8 – 17 (Fishing Quarter 1: August 1 – October 31)
    • Application Quarter 2: October 1 – October 10 (Fishing Quarter 2: November 1 – January 31)
    • Application Quarter 3: January 1 – January 10 (Fishing Quarter 3: February 1 – April 30)
    • Application Quarter 4: April 1 – April 10 (Fishing Quarter 4: May 1 – July 31)
  1. Groups
    • Charter-for hire captains: 5
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 3 FWC Study Fleet trips targeting snapper grouper species during each quarter
      • Allowed to harvest up to 36 red snapper per vessel during approved FWC Study Fleet trips outside of the 1-day federal season under an Exempted Fishing Permit.
      • Captains must require individual anglers to stop targeted snapper grouper fishing (i.e., bottom fishing) once they reach their respective 15-fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit and must require the vessel stop targeted snapper-grouper fishing once the snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit of 15-fish has been met for all anglers or the vessel limit of 36 red snapper has been met (whichever occurs first).
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
    • Private recreational captains: 5
      • Allowed to fish a maximum of 3 FWC Study Fleet trips targeting snapper grouper during each quarter
      • Allowed to harvest up to 36 red snapper per vessel during approved FWC Study Fleet trips outside of the 1-day federal season under an Exempted Fishing Permit.
      • Captains must require individual anglers to stop targeted snapper-grouper fishing (i.e., bottom fishing) once they reach their respective 15-fish snapper grouper aggregate bag limit and must require the vessel stop targeted snapper-grouper fishing once the snapper-grouper aggregate bag limit of 15-fish has been met for all anglers or the vessel limit of 36 red snapper has been met (whichever occurs first).
      • Other requirements are listed in the Program Requirement section.
  2. 15-fish Snapper Grouper Aggregate – Each participant must stop bottom fishing for snapper grouper species (i.e., can still target other species, like inshore fishes or pelagics) once they reach the snapper grouper-aggregate.
    • Only 1 fish can be a gag, black, or scamp grouper
    • Up to 2 fish can be red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind, or rock hind grouper
    • Only 1 fish can be a red porgy, blueline tilefish, or golden tilefish
    • Only 1 fish can be greater amberjack
    • Up to 3 fish can be lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish
    • Up to 5 fish can be black sea bass
    • Up to 5 fish can be gray triggerfish
    • Up to 10 fish can be grunts
    • Up to 10 fish can be Atlantic spadefish or bar jack
    • Up to 10 fish can be porgies (red porgy excluded)
    • Up to 10 can be schoolmaster, gray, lane, yellowtail, queen, silk, or blackfin snapper
    • Up to 5 can be vermilion, cubera, or mutton snapper

 

  1. Eligibility  
    • Captains/owners of private vessels and captains of charter vessels that fish within the proposal area are eligible to apply to participate in the study fleet.
      • Private recreational captains are defined as someone who will be responsible for safe operation of the vessel during FWC Study Fleet trips and, if born after Jan. 1, 1988, has successfully completed an FWC approved boating safety course and obtained a Boating Safety Education Identification Card. A captain may be exempt from these requirements if they are licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as master of a vessel or are a nonresident that has completed a NASBLA approved boater safety course or equivalent examination from another state.
      • Charter captains are defined as someone who will be responsible for safe operation of the vessel during FWC Study Fleet trips and is licensed by the U.S.C.G. to carry for-hire passengers and has the appropriate federal and state charter permits. This study is not intended for headboats. Further, to be eligible to participate in this program, private vessels and charter vessels are limited to a maximum of 6 anglers (excluding the captain and crew) per designated fishing trip.
    • All anglers fishing from private vessels must have a Florida recreational fishing license (or be exempt as per Chapter 379.353 F.S.) and be signed up for Florida’s State Reef Fish Survey (SRFS) prior to fishing aboard a trip as part of the FWC Study Fleet.
  2. Any captain that does not have a resource violation would be eligible to participate in the FWC Study Fleet. Reporting Requirements for Captain
    • If selected, captains must fill out a logbook of data for the trip and then must transfer this information to FWC’s app within 48 hours of conclusion of the trip. Type of information includes catch and discard data for each angler at the species level, areas fished, and time spent fishing.
    • Captains must schedule a FWC Study Fleet trip in FWC’s app and this trip MUST BE APPROVED BY FWC STAFF prior to departing on a FWC Study Fleet trip.
    • Once approved, captains must hail-in and hail-out for approved FWC Study Fleet trips and must coordinate with FWC staff so a biologist can take biological samples to catch at a public marina or dock.
  3. Education requirement (coming soon): If selected, private captains and all anglers onboard their vessel must take an educational course before fishing in a FWC Study Fleet trip. For-hire captains must take the educational course before fishing in a FWC Study Fleet trip, but anglers on-board their vessel are only required to be briefed on Module 1 of the educational course by the charter captain prior to hooks in the water. 
  4. Validation: If selected, captains will be required to coordinate with FWC staff prior to a Study Fleet trip so FWC biologists can collect biological samples (i.e., otoliths, fin clips for DNA, length/weight) from their snapper grouper catch at a public marina or dock. For validation purposes, on private recreational vessels, cameras will be placed on board and on charter vessels, observers may be placed on board.
  5. Angler satisfaction survey: Participants must be willing to take a pre- and post-participation survey and be interviewed by FWC staff if needed.
  6. Other requirements: Retain a copy of the EFP and SAL on-board the vessel used for FWC Study Fleet trips.

 

 

  1. Hook and line only
  2. Federal waters: descending devices are required to be rigged and ready
  3. State waters: descending devices or venting tools rigged and ready, descending device and/or venting tool must be used if fish is experiencing barotrauma.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

An EFP, or Exempted Fishing Permit, is a permit which allows harvest for certain purposes that are otherwise prohibited under current federal regulations.

Atlantic red snapper is currently overfished and undergoing overfishing according to the most recent stock assessment (SEDAR 73).

An alternative management strategy that FWC will test during these studies to reduce dead discards. Selected participants will be allowed to harvest 15 fish snapper grouper species under a unique EFP snapper grouper aggregate bag limit. The selected participants will be required to stop bottom fishing once the snapper grouper aggregate bag limit is reached. The aggregate bag limit is as follows:

  • Only 1 fish can be a gag, black, or scamp grouper
  • Up to 2 fish can be red, yellowfin, yellowmouth, coney, graysby, red hind, or rock hind grouper
  • Only 1 fish can be a red porgy, blueline tilefish, or golden tilefish
  • Only 1 fish can be greater amberjack
  • Up to 3 fish can be lesser amberjack, almaco jack, or banded rudderfish
  • Up to 5 fish can be black sea bass
  • Up to 5 fish can be gray triggerfish
  • Up to 10 fish can be grunts
  • Up to 10 fish can be Atlantic spadefish or bar jack
  • Up to 10 fish can be porgies (red porgy excluded)
  • Up to 10 can be schoolmaster, gray, lane, yellowtail, queen, silk, or blackfin snapper
  • Up to 5 can be vermilion, cubera, or mutton snapper

A fish that is caught alive, but later dies after it is released. Fish are often discarded due to regulatory requirements (e.g., out of season, bag or size limits, etc.) 

The FWC manages fisheries in Florida’s Atlantic state waters (shore to 3 nautical miles (nm)), and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries manage fisheries such as reef fish in South Atlantic federal waters (from 3 nm to as far as 200 nm).

For more information you can contact us at AtlanticEFP@myfwc.com or call (850) 901-5063.

 

Better science and understanding of our current red snapper fishery can lead to improved management. This includes collecting better catch and discard data directly from anglers and testing an innovative bag limit management strategy to reduce discards.

No, participants may only be selected for one study per quarter.

Yes, participants may apply for every quarter throughout the study.

More Information

If you have additional questions, please email us at AtlanticEFP@myfwc.com or call the Division of Marine Fisheries Management at 850-487-0554