An artificial reef may be described as one or more objects of natural or human origin deployed purposefully on the seafloor to influence physical, biological, or socioeconomic processes related to living marine organisms. The more than 2,400 carefully planned artificial reefs constructed in state and adjacent federal waters off both Florida coasts have been built to provide recreational fishing and diving enhancement, a socio-economic benefit to adjacent coastal communities, and to increase structural habitat for reef associated or reef dependent fishes and invertebrates.
Catch and Release
Managers of Florida's fisheries use a combination of traditional measures to control harvests and protect fish stocks. These measures include bag limits; minimum and maximum sizes; closed seasons and areas; and in some cases, no harvest is allowed unless a special permit is purchased. Bag limits reduce the number of fish that are harvested and allocate the catch over time so that the year's total harvest is not taken in one season.
Coral reefs can be described as the rain forests of the sea. One census found 3,467 species of algae, plants, and animals associated with coral reefs. Protection and wise use of Florida's coral reef habitat is our primary concern. The long-term Coral Monitoring Project (CRMP) is the most comprehensive coral assessment program ever established in the Florida Keys.
Fish Handling Guidelines
Florida's anglers should be proud of their conservation efforts. They have helped to restore or sustain valuable fisheries, including snook, red drum and spotted seatrout. As the number of anglers continues to grow and our coastal habitats come under increasing stress, it becomes more important than ever to release those fish that cannot be harvested in as good a condition as possible. The next angler will thank you for it.
Grouper Catch and Release
Goliath grouper are a prohibited species; therefore the species receives greater protection to ensure its continued health, which makes proper catch and release techniques all the more important.
Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program
Every day, improperly discarded monofilament fishing line causes devastating problems for marine life and the environment. Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish and birds become injured from entanglements, or might ingest the line, often dying as a result. Human divers and swimmers are also at risk from entanglements and the line can also damage boat propellers.
Conservation and restoration of seagrass is the primary focus of program staff in aquatic vegetation. Seagrass research helps supply resource managers with the data necessary to make effective decisions about the preservation, management, and restoration of these communities.
Sport Fish Restoration
Do you: Buy fishing gear? Fuel up your boat? Purchase a fishing license? Every time you do these things, you are helping to improve your fishing experience. You are among the many anglers and boaters who support the Sport Fish Restoration Program. This national program, managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), collects money from excise taxes on fishing equipment, import duties on fishing equipment and boats, taxes on motorboat and small-engine fuels. The revenue collected is used to create future fishing and boating opportunities.