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Regulations for Nonnative, Conditional, and Prohibited Aquatic Species

Conditional Aquatic Species

A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit is needed to import and possess conditional aquatic species for transshipment or commercial use, research, or public exhibition. Conditional species are not allowed to be personally possessed.

  • Holders of a valid Aquaculture Certificate (AQ) that has the restricted species authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for that particular species do not need a permit from the FWC to import or possess conditional aquatic species for aquaculture purposes.
  • However, aquaculturists that import and possess conditional aquatic species for direct retail sales must obtain a permit from the FWC.
  • Conditional aquatic species may be transferred or sold to people who possess a license to import or possess that particular species, or to people who hold a valid AQ that has the restricted species authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for that particular species.

Prohibited Aquatic Species

A Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative Species Permit is needed to import and possess prohibited aquatic species for research or public exhibition. Prohibited aquatic species are not allowed to be used commercially or personally possessed.

  • No permits are issued for the importation and possession of piranha and pirembeba, for any purpose.
  • Sea snakes can only be possessed for public exhibition by facilities with current accreditation by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association or the American Association of Museums and that post a $1 million letter of credit to the FWC. Only male sea snakes may be possessed, and facilities where sea snakes are held cannot be located in coastal counties or in areas that have contiguous connections with waters of the state. Sea snakes can only be imported by airplanes that land only in non-coastal counties in the state. Facilities where sea snakes are held must abide by all regulatory requirements of the FWC for venomous reptiles.
  • Weeverfishes and stonefishes may not be imported into the state.

Nonnative Fish

Commercial fish dealers licenses are required by the FWC. It is unlawful for licensed freshwater fish dealers or buyers to purchase freshwater fish or frogs from any unlicensed person.

Freshwater Turtles

The sale of freshwater turtles taken from the wild is prohibited.

As of August 2010, individuals may apply for a Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit to personally acquire unwanted pet red-eared sliders and give these animals a permanent home. Qualified individuals must have adequate indoor tanks or outdoor enclosures that are fully enclosed by a barrier secured at least 6 inches below ground and that will prevent escape of turtles by digging, climbing or crawling through gaps.  Any red-eared slider eggs must be destroyed daily.

Per Executive Order 20-19, red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) will continue to be regulated a Conditional species as described in section 68-5.004(3), F.A.C., following changes made to Section 379.372, Florida Statutes, effective July 1, 2020. Under those rules, red-eared sliders may continue to be possessed by permitted entities for personal use, educational exhibition, commercial sale, and research use, or by certified aquaculture facilities. Entities with a valid Aquaculture Certificate of Registration for red-eared sliders will continue to be allowed to culture this species.

More information on Red-eared sliders

More information on changes to Section 379.372, Florida Statutes

Triploid Grass Carp

Triploid grass carp used for aquatic weed control is not included under the Conditional/Prohibited/Nonnative species permit. Permits for using triploid grass carp for weed control must be applied for online. For information on any other permits for triploid or diploid grass carp use , please contact the FWC’s Invasive Plant Management Section at 850-617-9430.