State Reef Fish Survey
Starting July 1, 2020, all those who intend to fish for or harvest certain reef fish from a private vessel in Florida are required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation. The statewide State Reef Fish Survey will be replacing the Gulf Reef Fish Survey.
State Reef Fish Anglers will help improve recreational data for several reef fish species such as snapper, grouper, and hogfish. The process is easy, no-cost and will help the FWC paint a clearer picture of how many people are targeting reef fish like red snapper and gag and what they are seeing and harvesting on the water.
Sign up online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or anywhere you can purchase a Florida fishing license. See a video below for step-by-step instructions on how to sign up.
For additional questions, visit our frequently asked questions page.
Recreational anglers and divers fishing from a private boat anywhere in Florida who intend to harvest, attempt to harvest or possess one or more of the following reef fish species:
- mutton snapper (new)
- yellowtail snapper (new)
- hogfish (new)
- red snapper
- vermilion snapper
- gag grouper
- red grouper
- black grouper
- greater amberjack
- lesser amberjack
- banded rudderfish
- almaco jack
- gray triggerfish
The following groups are required to sign up for the State Reef Fish Angler designation annually, even though they are exempt from saltwater fishing licensing requirements:
- Those who are age 65 or older.
- Florida residents who are members of the Armed Forces of the United States, who are not stationed in this state and home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders
- Veterans with disabilities, active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family and/or an assistant who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer.
- Those with multi-year or lifetime licenses.
- Florida residents certified as totally and permanently disabled who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person's Hunting and Fishing License.
- Individuals who hold a valid saltwater products license using their license to recreationally fish for the SRFS species.
Those not required to obtain the State Reef Fish Angler designation include individuals who are:
- Fishing from a licensed charter, headboat or party boat vessel, or with a licensed for-hire guide.
- There is already a separate survey mechanism in place to collect recreational fisheries data from for-hire operations.
- Under 16 years of age.
- Harvesting for scientific and educational purposes under a special activity license issued by FWC.
- Fishing from a vessel that has a valid Recreational Vessel fishing license. (This license covers anyone saltwater fishing from a recreational vessel where no fee is paid. This is not an individual fishing license.)
- Not fishing for or harvesting reef fish.
Signing up for the State Reef Fish Angler designation is easy, no-cost, and available anywhere FWC saltwater fishing licenses are sold.
- Fish|Hunt Florida mobile app
- 1-888-FISHFLORIDA (347-4356)
- Tackle shops, sporting goods stores, and tax collectors offices
To add the designation, login or create an account, click purchase a license, scroll down to “Saltwater Fishing Permits”, select the “State Reef Fish Angler” designation to add to your cart, and follow the prompts to check out.
If you are a Gulf Reef Fish Angler, your designation will remain valid until it expires and will meet the new SRFS statewide requirement. You do not need a State Reef Fish Angler designation until your current Gulf designation expires.
- Once you sign up, make sure to carry proof of your designation when fishing for reef fish from a private vessel.
- You may be randomly selected to receive a survey by mail about your fishing activity. The information you provide is used to estimate the total number of recreational fishing trips for reef fish in Florida during a given month. Even if you did not fish for reef fish, your feedback allows scientists to more accurately determine fishing effort.
- If you receive a survey, please respond and return as soon as possible, even if you did not fish in the given month!
- You may be approached by an FWC biologist at the dock after returning from recreational fishing and asked to participate in an in-person interview. If you have a few minutes, please participate in this survey.
- Don’t forget to renew your State Reef Fish Angler designation annually if you plan to fish for or harvest the reef fish listed above.
No. The State Reef Fish Angler designation is completely no-cost. All vendor fees are waived.
The Gulf Reef Fish Survey (GRFS) expired June 30, 2020, and this survey provides critical recreational harvest fishing data that allows for the state management of Gulf red snapper, in addition to other reef fish. Replacing it with the State Reef Fish Survey ensures that this valuable information can continue to be collected in the Gulf and expands the benefits of better data and enhanced management opportunities statewide.
Recreational fishing is a valued past-time and an important driver for the economy of this state. Data collected through the State Reef Fish Survey will provide a clearer picture of the health of reef fish stocks throughout the state and help ensure the long-term sustainability of recreational fishing in Florida. SRFS will improve recreational catch estimates and allow for improved stock assessments for reef fish and enhanced management opportunities.
Your participation is crucial to the success of these efforts.
By participating in the State Reef Fish Survey, you are improving recreational data for several important reef fish species in Florida.