68A-25.042 Regulations Governing Statewide Alligator Trapping, Permitting, Taking and Sale.
No person shall take non-hatchling alligators from the wild except as provided herein and under other applicable rules of the Commission.
(1) Establishment of alligator management units and harvest quotas:
(a) Management units comprised of specified wetlands, lakes, rivers or other water bodies that may be reasonably grouped for the purposes of study, analysis or management and that are suitable for harvest based on habitat characteristics, accessibility, and estimated alligator densities shall be established by the executive director or his designee.
(b) Annual harvest quotas for each management unit shall be established by the executive director, or his designee, and shall be based upon an evaluation of on-site habitat or population inventories for each management unit. The harvest quota for a management unit shall be based on the best estimate of the number of alligators that can be removed from the unit without long-term adverse impacts on population levels.
(2) Harvest permit issuance:
(a) Harvest permits may be applied for through the Commission’s online licensing system at designated times and dates each year by:
- Paying for an alligator trapping license, unless exempt, as specified by Section 379.3751, F.S., and $10 for each CITES tag, pursuant to Section 379.3752, F.S., issued with harvest permits, or
- Providing evidence of possession of an alligator trapping license valid through the last day of the designated harvest season, or a current-year harvest permit, and paying $30 for each CITES tag, pursuant to Section 379.3752, F.S., issued with harvest permits.
(b) Applicants for a harvest permit shall:
- Be 18 years of age or older by August 15 in the current application year.
- Not have been convicted of any violation of Section 379.409 or 379.3015, F.S., or rules of the Commission relating to the illegal taking of any crocodilian species:
- For a period of five (5) years preceding the date of application, or
- For a period of ten (10) years preceding the date of application if such conviction involved the taking of an endangered crocodilian species.
(c) Harvest permits shall be issued upon determination that the applicant meets the requirements of this subsection.
(d) CITES tags shall be issued with each harvest permit, and harvest tags bearing the letters “MER” shall also be issued with harvest permits for management units for which the best available scientific data indicates the average mercury concentrations in alligators therein exceeds the Federal limit for legal sale of the meat.
(e) Harvest permits shall be valid only for the management unit and harvest period indicated thereon, and harvest permits and their associated harvest tags, if issued, and CITES tags are not transferable.
(f) The number of harvest permits issued per person shall be determined by the executive director or his designee.
(3) Alligator trapping requirements:
(a) Alligators may only be taken in accordance with the provisions of the harvest permit.
(b) Alligators may be taken during the following harvest periods as specified in the harvest permit. Harvest periods shall be September 12 through November 1, and either August 15 through August 21, or August 22 through August 28, or August 29 through September 4, or September 5 through September 11. Exceptions to the times and harvest periods may be specified in the harvest permit.
(c) Only non-hatchling alligators may be taken.
(d) Legal methods to take:
(1) Alligators captured using the following methods must be killed immediately.
(a) Artificial lures or baited wooden pegs less than two (2) inches in length attached to hand-held restraining lines or restraining lines attached to a vessel occupied by the permittee.
(b) Harpoons, gigs, and manually operated spears attached to restraining lines,
(c) Spearguns, pre-charged pneumatic air guns firing an arrow (airbows), crossbows and bows with projectiles fired from such devices being attached to restraining lines.
(3) The use of baited hooks, gig-equipped bang sticks, or firearms for taking alligators is prohibited except that bang sticks are allowed for taking alligators attached to a restraining line.
(4) Not withstanding Rule 68A-4.002, F.A.C., a light may be used in conjunction with these methods of take.
(e) Any persons assisting the permittee in the taking of alligators as provided herein shall possess an alligator trapping license or alligator trapping agent’s license, unless exempt from such license(s), in accordance with the provisions of Section 379.3751, F.S., and may engage in such assistance only while in the presence of the permittee. However, for the purposes of this provision, the taking of alligators does not include the activities of driving the vessel or the use of a light.
(f) Alligators may only be taken in the area specified in the harvest permit.
(g) Immediately upon killing, a CITES tag issued by the Commission and a harvest tag, if issued, shall be locked through the skin of the carcass within six (6) inches of the tip of the tail. The CITES tag shall remain attached to the alligator hide until the hide is tanned, taxidermy mounted, or exported from the state. The harvest tag, if issued, shall remain attached to the alligator until processing. CITES tags may not be altered to compromise the locking mechanism in any way and shall be used only one time. The possession of any alligator hide not tagged as prescribed herein is prohibited, and such hide shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture to the Commission under the provisions of Section 379.338, F.S.
(h) An alligator harvest report form (FWC form 1001AT, effective April 30, 2000) provided by the Commission shall be completed by the permittee within 24 hours of taking each alligator and prior to the transfer of the carcass to another person. The permittee shall submit a legible copy of the alligator harvest report form to the Commission for receipt no later than 14 days after the expiration date of the harvest permit.
(i) Tags issued under this section shall remain the property of the Commission until affixed as provided herein. Tags issued pursuant to this section may be possessed only by the permittee or persons provided for in paragraph (3)(g), above, prior to use. The permittee shall be strictly liable in ensuring that possession of unused tags is limited to persons authorized under this rule.
(j) All unused CITES tags shall be returned by the permittee to the Commission no later than 14 days after the expiration date of the harvest permit. It shall be a violation of this section for any person to possess any unused CITES tag(s) issued pursuant to this section 14 days after the expiration date of the harvest permit. Permits may be denied, pursuant to Rule 68-1.010, F.A.C., to applicants who have previously failed to return unused tags and complete forms as specified herein.
(4) Alligator processing and sale of parts.
(a) Alligator meat not discarded shall be processed or sold in accordance with Rule 68A-25.052, F.A.C.
(b) Commission personnel shall be granted access to collect biological data on and specimens from any alligators taken under the provisions of this rule, provided that specimens shall only be taken when necessary for the management of the species.
(5) Nothing herein shall prohibit the executive director from establishing special restrictions or exemptions from this rule for the purpose of conducting experimental alligator harvests on designated areas pursuant to Rule 68A-9.002, F.A.C.
Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., 379.3751, 379.3752 FS. History–New 5-5-88, Amended 2-14-89, 4-11-90, 4-14-92, 4-29-93, 7-1-94, 3-30-95, 4-1-96, 9-15-96, 4-12-98, Formerly 39-25.042, Amended 4-30-00, 5-13-02, 4-11-04, 3-30-06, 3-19-08, 3-12-09, 7-20-09, 7-20-11, 3-24-13, 8-19-14, 2-1-16.
68A-25.052 Regulations Governing the Processing of Alligators and the Sale of Alligator Meat and Parts.
(1) Meat from legally acquired alligators that is not discarded and not processed for sale shall be packaged and labeled to indicate the CITES tag number and license holder’s name in indelible ink on each package.
(2) Meat from alligators taken pursuant to Rule 68A-25.042, F.A.C., to which harvest tags have been affixed bearing the letters “MER” as part of the tag numbers may not be sold for human consumption and if not discarded shall be permanently and visibly labeled “NOT FOR SALE, Recommend: NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.”
(3) Alligator meat may only be sold if imported or if processed from carcasses skinned in a permitted alligator processing facility and processed and packaged in such a facility as provided in this section.
(4) Alligator processing facilities may be established and operated only under permit from the executive director and shall be licensed as required by Section 379.3751, F.S. The criteria for issuance of an alligator processing facility permit are as follows:
(a) Persons may indicate their intent to establish an alligator processing facility when submitting their alligator trapping, alligator farming, or alligator processing license application, or if already licensed under Section 379.3751, F.S., they may submit a written request for an alligator processing facility permit to the Commission at least 30 days prior to the proposed date of operation. Such application or written request shall include a copy of the current food permit from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the proposed facility.
(b) The executive director shall not issue an alligator processing facility permit or shall revoke said permit for any person who has been convicted of any violation of Section 379.409 or 379.3015, F.S., or the rules of the Commission relating to the illegal taking of any crocodilian species:
- For five (5) years following such conviction, or
- For ten (10) years following, if such conviction involves the taking of an endangered crocodilian species.
(5) Provisions for the operation of alligator processing facilities:
(a) Alligator processors and their designated employees as provided by permit may receive and possess legally acquired, tagged, unskinned alligator carcasses and skinned alligator carcasses with the CITES tag number and, if applicable, the harvest tag number recorded on an attached tag for processing of meat and hides provided:
- For alligators taken pursuant to Rules 68A-25.003, 68A-25.032, and 68A-25.042, F.A.C., the alligator harvest report form (FWC form 1001AT, effective April 30, 2000) shall be completed and signed immediately upon receipt, and shall be further completed upon processing to indicate the amount of meat packaged. A copy of the harvest report form shall accompany the carcass until processing.
- Written records of the number, source, and disposition of all alligator carcasses received, bought, sold, or transferred, including copies of Alligator Harvest Report Forms (FWC form 1001AT), shall be maintained for a period of one year following sale, transfer, or disposal of the carcass, meat, hides, or parts thereof.
(b) Commission personnel shall be granted access to any permitted facility to collect biological specimens from and data on any alligators possessed under this subsection, provided that specimens shall only be collected when necessary for the management of the species.
(c) Processing and storage facilities and all Commission required records shall be subject to inspection by Commission personnel during reasonable hours.
(d) Meat processed or re-processed for sale shall be packaged in a sealed, tamper-proof package (a package that is permanently and noticeably altered if opened to remove or add meat). Each package shall be permanently labeled to indicate the name of the processor processing the alligator(s), the CITES tag number(s) from the alligator(s) from which the meat was taken, the date packaged, and the number of pounds of meat enclosed. Each package and label shall be used to package meat only one time.
(6) Provisions for the sale of alligator meat:
(a) Written records of all alligator meat sales, with the exception of retail sales to the customer, shall be maintained for a period of one year following sale, and shall include the name of the seller and buyer, date of sale, and amount sold. Such records shall be open to inspection by Commission personnel during reasonable hours.
(b) All alligator meat purchased shall remain in the original package until the meat is re-processed or prepared for consumption, and packages shall be used to package meat only one time.
(c) Packages containing lawfully acquired alligator meat packaged and labeled in accordance with this rule may be shipped in intrastate or interstate commerce.
(7) Provisions for the importation of alligator meat to Florida:
(a) Meat shall be acquired and processed in accordance with the applicable health and sanitation requirements and laws of the state of origin.
(b) All imported alligator meat shall be shipped in a tamper-proof package.
(c) Each package of imported alligator meat shall be labeled with a seal to identify the state of origin, the processor, the number of pounds of meat enclosed, and the date packaged.
(8) Provisions for cutting raw alligator hides into pieces:
(a) Only the following persons who possess legally-acquired, untanned alligator hides with CITES tags affixed may cut those hides into pieces:
- Persons licensed pursuant to Section 379.3751, F.S., as alligator farmers and their licensed alligator farming agents;
- Persons licensed pursuant to Section 379.3751, F.S., as alligator meat processors and their employees; and
- Persons licensed pursuant to Section 379.364, F.S., as alligator hide buyers and their employees.
(b) Whole hides may be cut into a maximum of four (4) pieces for further processing.
- For hides resulting from belly-skinned alligators (i.e., whole hides that have the belly portion intact), the hide may be cut into either two (2) flanks or chaleco, as well as belly, and tail, hereinafter referred to as “hide piece(s).” All remaining portions of the originating hide shall be destroyed.
- For hides resulting from hornback-skinned alligators (i.e., whole hides that have been cut through the middle of the belly portion), the hide may be cut into either two (2) flanks (each including a portion of the belly) or chaleco, as well as tail, and back, hereinafter referred to as “hide piece(s).” All remaining portions of the originating hide shall be destroyed.
(c) For alligator hide pieces that are not intended for exporting from the United States, the following shall apply.
- The licensed alligator farmer, alligator meat processor, or alligator hide buyer shall provide the Commission with at least a 48-hour notice of intent to cut a CITES-tagged hide(s) into pieces indicating the date when the hide(s) will be cut. The hide cutting process may occur for up to two (2) days under the notice of intent. Any additional days needed to complete the hide cutting process shall proceed only after obtaining prior written approval from the Commission.
- Only tamperproof tags approved by the Commission and supplied by the licensed alligator farmer, alligator meat processor, or alligator hide buyer for affixing to hide pieces may be used for tagging hide pieces, with each such tag bearing the name of the licensed alligator farmer, alligator meat processor, or alligator hide buyer, a unique, non-repeating serial number, and the word “Florida” or the letters “FL”.
- Each hide piece, once cut, shall immediately have affixed thereto a tag as prescribed in subparagraph 8(c)2., above, and the tag’s serial number recorded in association with the originating hide’s CITES tag number and the type of hide piece cut (flank, belly, tail, back, or chaleco). Each chaleco hide piece shall have a Commission-approved tamperproof tag affixed on each flank. Each tail hide piece shall retain affixed thereto the CITES tag of the originating hide. A CITES tag or Commission-approved tamperproof tag shall remain affixed to the hide piece until the hide piece is destroyed, tanned, taxidermy mounted, or exported from the state.
- All documentation required by subparagraph 8(c)3., above, shall be provided to the Commission within seven (7) days of completion of the hide cutting process.
(d) For alligator hide pieces that are intended for exporting from the United States, the following shall apply.
- The licensed alligator farmer, alligator meat processor, or alligator hide buyer shall provide the Commission with at least a 14-day notice of intent to cut a CITES-tagged hide(s) into pieces indicating the date when the hide(s) will be cut and the number of pieces the hide(s) will be cut. The hide cutting process may occur for up to two (2) days under the notice of intent. Any additional days needed to complete the hide cutting process shall proceed only after obtaining prior written approval from the Commission.
- The Commission shall issue the licensed alligator farmer, alligator meat processor, or alligator hide buyer the corresponding number of CITES tags equal to the number of hide pieces indicated on the notice of intent.
- Each hide piece, once cut, shall immediately have affixed thereto a CITES tag provided pursuant to subparagraph 8(d)2., above, and the tag’s serial number recorded in association with the originating hide’s CITES tag number and the type of hide piece cut (flank, belly, tail, back, or chaleco). Each chaleco hide piece shall have a Commission-issued CITES tag affixed on each flank. A CITES tag shall remain affixed to the hide piece until the hide piece is destroyed, tanned, taxidermy mounted, or exported from the state.
The Commission-provided CITES tag shall remain affixed to the hide piece until the hide piece is tanned, taxidermy mounted, or exported from the state.
- All documentation in compliance with subparagraph 8(d)3., above, shall be provided to the Commission within seven (7) days of completion of the hide cutting process along with any issued CITES tags that were not used.
- Each tail or back hide piece shall be packaged as follows:
- Packed in a transparent, sealed container.
- Each container must be clearly marked with a non-reusable parts tag or label that includes all of the following information: a description of the contents, the total weight (contents and container), the number of the CITES tag from the originating hide and the US-CITES logo, the letters “FL”, a unique serial number, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species code “MIS.”
(e) Written records of the number, source, and disposition of all alligator hide pieces produced under this Rule that are retained, bought, sold, received, or transferred by licensed alligator farmers, alligator meat processors, or alligator hide buyers shall be maintained for a period of one year.
(9) The feet, viscera or skeletal parts of lawfully acquired alligators may be retained or transferred provided that all transfers, with the exception of retail sales to the consumer, shall be documented in writing to indicate the kind and quantity of items and date transferred and the name and address of each recipient, and such records shall be maintained for a period of one year.
(10) Manufactured goods wholly or partly composed of alligator hide, organs, teeth, or skull, or other skeletal material may only be sold in accordance with provisions of Rule 68A-25.002, F.A.C.
(11) These requirements shall not be construed to supersede the regulatory authority of any federal, state or local entity regarding the processing or handling of food products, but shall be deemed supplemental thereto. Alligators processed hereunder shall be handled and processed in compliance with all applicable sanitation and permit requirements of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the county health department of the county in which the facility is located, and any other federal, state, or local authorities.
Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const., 379.3012, 379.3751 FS. History–New 5-5-88, Amended 2-14-89, 4-11-90, 4-1-96, 9-15-96, 6-1-97, 4-12-98, 4-15-99, Formerly 39-25.052, Amended 4-30-00, 3-30-06, 9-13-20.