Commercial Regulations for Dolphin


Dolphin/Mahi-Mahi (Dorado): Coryphaena hippurus

Commercial Regulations:  

RegulationsGulf State Waters Atlantic State Waters

Minimum Size Limit

20” fork length

 20” fork length

Incidental Bycatch

10 per person


License Requirements: Not a Mobile-Enabled Link

 Gulf State Waters – SPL, RS

 Atlantic State Waters – SPL, RS and Federal permit

To apply for a vessel, dealer or operator permit, interested parties should contact the Permits Office, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33702; or by phone at 727-824-5326.


Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: spearing, hook and line
  • Can be harvested by longline outside of state waters

Habitat and Fishing Tips:

Dolphin, commonly known as Mahi-Mahi, is a pelagic, off-shore species that has bright turquiose, green and yellow patterns, which fade almost immediately upon death. They prefer warm waters (above 68 degrees) and water depths greater than 80 feet. Adults eat bait fish, flying fish, squid and crabs. Like many other pelagic species, dolphin are attracted to floating objects and are commonly found in association with floating mats of sargassum. Dolphin are fast swimmers and extremely fast growers reaching nearly three feet in length in their first year of life. Large, solitary dolphin are commonly caught while trolling natural baits such as rigged ballyhoo or cigar minnows, but they can also be caught on live bait, cut bait, artificial lures, jigs or spoons. The tackle used to catch dolphin ranges from light spinning tackle for smaller schooling dolphin, to heavy trolling equipment. Chumming with cut bait or leaving a hooked fish in the water can keep schooling fish near the boat for multiple hookups. Dolphin is undoubtedly one of Florida’s most beautiful marine species and a favorite seafood item for many people.

Image Credit:Diane Rome Peebles


FWC Facts:
Bass have been known to eat snook, and snook occasionally eat bass.

Learn More at AskFWC