Bonefish Tournament Exemption Permits
As of July 1, 2011, a tournament exemption permit is required for bonefish tournament anglers to temporarily possess and transport bonefish to a weigh station for tournament purposes. To be eligible for a bonefish tournament exemption permit, tournaments must involve 10 or more participants, have written rules and regulations, require an entry fee and award prizes to competitors.
A Bonefish Catch, Hold and Release Tournament Exemption Permit may only be issued to the director of a catch-and-release fishing tournament that agrees to the following permit conditions:
- Tournament anglers and tournament staff must release all bonefish free, alive, and unharmed, including those fish that are weighed-in.
- Bonefish may be transported to shore only to be weighed, measured, and recorded at a certified scale.
- No tournament angler shall possess more than one bonefish at any one time and no more than two bonefish may be possessed aboard a vessel at any one time.
- All vessels used in the tournament must contain recirculating or aerated live wells that are at least 2.67 cubic feet or 20 gallons in capacity. Any bonefish that are possessed or transported in association with tournament related activities must be transported in such a live well.
- Organized tournament staff shall maintain at least one recirculating or aerated recovery tank at each certified scale and tournament check-in location. Tournament staff may hold up to one bonefish per 10 gallons of seawater in a recirculating or aerated recovery tank prior to release. Bonefish must be released by official sunset each day of the tournament, as established and published by the U.S. Weather Service, and may not be possessed longer than 16 hours. Recovery holding tank requirements will be specified in the tournament exemption permit by the FWC in a manner to ensure increased survival of released bonefish.
- The tournament must provide the FWC in the tournament exemption permit application with a description of the recirculating or aerated recovery holding tank(s) used to maintain bonefish alive after weigh-in.
- Dead bonefish possessed by a tournament angler may not be discarded. Tournament anglers shall report and surrender any bonefish that die after capture or during transport to tournament staff. The disposition of dead bonefish may be specified in the tournament exemption permit at the FWC's discretion.
- The organized tournament must suggest to the FWC in the tournament exemption permit application a location where tournament-caught bonefish will be released after they are weighed-in. In order to increase survival of released bonefish, release locations shall be approved or specified in the tournament exemption permit.
- The tournament must allow FWC staff the opportunity to collect research data and conduct research and monitoring during the tournament.
- The tournament must submit a post-tournament report to the FWC indicating the number of fish weighed-in each day of the tournament, the number of fish weighed-in dead each day, and the number of fish that died after being weighed-in, but prior to release each day. The FWC may specify additional tournament reporting requirements as a condition of the tournament exemption permit.
- Permits are subject to the provisions of Rule 68A-5.004, F.A.C., such as denial of future tournament exemption permits.
For more information:
- Bonefish Tournament Best Management Practices
- Bonefish Tournament Exemption Permit Q&A
- Bonefish information
How to apply
Tournament Directors: Please complete and submit an application form along with current tournament rules and regulations to:
FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management
620 S. Meridian Street, MB 4B3
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600