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Commercial Wholesale and Retail Dealers

Are you a new wholesale or retail dealer? Are you an existing commercial dealer who needs information? Find out how to comply with the law for reporting your catches of saltwater products. Download useful information to aid in your reporting.

The Marine Fisheries Trip Ticket Program

Commercial fisheries landings and fishing effort data have been collected by the state of Florida since November 1984. Florida law (Chapter 379.362(6), and Administrative Code 68E-5.002) requires that all sales of seafood products from the waters of Florida must be reported on a Marine Fisheries Trip Ticket at the time of sale. Trip tickets include information about the harvester, the dealer purchasing the product, the date of the transaction, the county in which the species was landed, time fished, and pounds of each species landed for each trip. Completed tickets are mailed to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, where they are processed.

Important Reporting Facts

  • A Florida wholesale dealer license is necessary to purchase products from licensed Florida fishers.
  • A valid Saltwater Products License must be presented to the wholesale dealer each time products are sold. Wholesale dealers may check on the status of a Saltwater Products License number at the Commercial Saltwater Licensing Section.
  • The wholesale dealer must keep and report records of each transaction (purchase) in such detail as is required by FWC rules. These transactions are recorded on marine fisheries trip tickets.
  • Sales are recorded on the trip ticket and imprinted with the fisher's Saltwater Products License number. The dealer must present a copy of the trip ticket to the fisher.
  • Wholesale dealers working from company-owned vessels must also keep and report records of landings of saltwater products-even in cases where a "sale" is not technically made. The wholesale dealer should report this information on marine fisheries trip tickets.
  • Retail dealers producing their own products for retail sale (saltwater products, bait, marine life) must keep records of their landings and report them.
  • Dealers who purchase product in other states from Florida licensed fishers should report such landings to the FWC if not required to do so in the state where the product was landed. This ensures that fishers are properly credited with out of state landings of saltwater products.
  • Wholesale dealers may need corresponding federal dealer permits to purchase certain species in certain areas. Information about federal permits can be found at the National Marine Fisheries Service Website.
  • All records are confidential and exempt from the Open Records Act (Florida Statutes, Chapter 119) by F.S. 379.362(6). Dealers and fishers can obtain their reported landings information by contacting the Trip Ticket Office toll-free 866-447-5515 (see the table below for request for release of landings data).

How do I report?

There are two ways to report your commercial fisheries information: standard paper marine fisheries trip tickets or a computer program.

Computer Reporting

When commercial trip ticket reporting began in 1984, a computer program was developed to allow dealers to enter saltwater products data. The information was copied to a disk provided by FWC, and it was mailed in a disk mailer free of charge to FWRI. By 2000, about 70 dealers were using the program available at that time.

In February 2003, a computer program called FL Trip Ticket was developed by Bluefin Data LLC to allow users to submit trip ticket data via modem and internet connection rather than traditional mail delivery.  In 2019, the trip ticket software was replaced by a new web-based reporting program called VESL, which was also developed by Bluefin Data LLC.  

VESL uses a point-of-sale card reader system to record the fisher-dealer commercial transaction.  An application for Apple or Android devices allows saltwater dealers to use a mobile device to scan the new SPL cards, which transfers the user to the secure website for trip data entry. Dealers wishing to use the web-based reporting on a desktop or laptop computer can use a card reader that can load fisher information from the magnetic strip or barcode. 

The VESL web application, mobile card readers, desktop card reader, and the barcode reader app are free to any Florida licensed commercial dealer. All federally permitted dealers are required to report electronically. The VESL web-application is also encouraged for any interested state waters-only dealer. Currently there are over 580 dealers reporting electronically who account for about 89% of commercial landings statewide.

Before using the web-based application, all interested commercial dealers must call the Trip Ticket Office to obtain a unique dealer prefix and instructions to access the application. Dealer prefixes are necessary to identify unique electronic trip tickets among the many program users.

Computer Program Contact Numbers and Information:

  • Call the Trip Ticket Office toll-free at 866-447-5515 to obtain a dealer prefix. You will need to provide an email address to send instructions on accessing the VESL reporting application.

Paper Ticket Reporting

While FWC encourages electronic reporting, marine fisheries trip tickets are provided, at no cost, to any state-only dealer who is required to report. If the user pays all associated forms costs, personalized marine fisheries trip tickets may be authorized for use. Contact the trip ticket office if you would like to know more.

The Trip Ticket Office sends postage-free business reply envelopes to dealers so the dealers can return completed trip tickets. The last two (2) copies of each completed trip ticket must be returned to the Trip Ticket Office within 10 working days of the final day of the previous month. For example, dealers reporting September's harvested saltwater catch information on trip tickets have until the tenth working day of October to submit the information to the Trip Ticket Office. Although some may report more frequently (for example, weekly) if desired, monthly reporting is required for all state-only dealers.

Additional Dealer Information

Commercial wholesale and retail dealers can use the resources available for download in the table below to aid with trip ticket reporting. There is a list of all the commercial gear types used to harvest saltwater products. Maps are available for reporting Florida fishing areas and counties where the saltwater products are brought ashore. Commercial food fish and marine life species codes are available in numeric and alphabetical order. New wholesale and retail dealers can download the questionnaires to send to the Trip Ticket Office in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition, individual fishers and wholesale dealers can download the necessary release forms to obtain their own commercial landings information. Please note that these forms need to be notarized and must be received at the Trip Ticket Office before commercial landings data will be sent.

 

NOAA Article: New Electronic Trip Ticket Reporting Applications Support Sound Science and Benefit Fishers


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