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Special Activity Licenses (SAL)

About the Program

The Marine Special Activity License (SAL) Program issues licenses for activities that require a waiver of marine fisheries regulations.  Activities that we license include (but are not limited to): scientific research, education, exhibition, aquaculture, the use of non-conforming gear (for research purposes only), the testing of innovative gear, the use of marine chemicals, the release of marine organisms, and the use of dredges for harvesting marine organisms.

Specific information regarding how Special Activity Licenses are issued and the program is managed may be found in FWC rule 68B-8, Florida Administrative Code.  Program policies and a flow chart that are incorporated into the rule by reference are as follows:

If you have not applied for a license before or if you have any questions regarding licensing, we encourage you to contact us before you apply as application fees are non-refundable.  SAL program staff may be contacted at: 850-487-0554; or e-mail:

Marine Educators

Please visit the Web site for the Florida Marine Science Educators Association for the FMSEA/FWC 3-year Aquatic Species Collecting Certificate.  Educators that can reasonably be expected to qualify for a FMSEA Certification will not be issued an SAL.  This would not apply to out-of-state educators who cannot attend the FMSEA certification workshop and would need to apply for an SAL instead.

Regulated Marine Species

Regulated Marine Species

Notice to SAL applicants and SAL holders

Special Activity Licenses issued by the FWC do not authorize any activities in:

  • State parks, unless a research/collecting permit has been obtained from the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks.
  • National parks.
  • Federal Waters - the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is any area seaward of 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic and 9 nautical miles on the Gulf.  The exceptions being species that are managed solely by the State of Florida and state regulations are extended into federal waters.
  • Zoned areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in Monroe County.  Zoned areas include Ecological Reserves (ERs), Sanctuary Preservation Areas (SPAs), and Special Use Areas (including Research Only (RO) areas).

Some activities conducted within any area of the FKNMS may need to be licensed by the Sanctuary such as coral collection, live rock/live sand collection, placement of equipment on the sea floor, and use of prohibited gear.  For information on whether or not your activities may need to be licensed by the Sanctuary, please contact:

Joanne Delaney, Permit Coordinator
NOAA/Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

  • Manatee Limited Entry Areas.  Exemptions to operate in these areas (for research purposes only) must be requested by an SAL applicant during the application process, or requested by an SAL holder through the license-amendment process.
  • Manatee Entangling Gear Zones. Exemptions to use entangling gear in these areas (for research purposes only) must be requested by an SAL applicant during the application process, or requested by an SAL holder through the license-amendment process.

Application Forms

Application submission information is located at the end of each application form.


All activities that involve the tagging of marine organisms must be authorized pursuant to a Special Activity License.  A tag is defined as any internal or external device or other marking, placed in or on an organism for the purpose of identification.  Fishing tournament directors (or their designee) are exempt from this requirement, but may only tag up to five (5) fish per tournament for purposes of awarding prizes to tournament participants.