Permit, Florida pompano and African pompano

Permit Pompano Collage

Florida Pompano: Trachinotus carolinus

African Pompano: Alectis ciliaris

Permit: Trachinotus falcatus

Florida Regulations:

Regulations Florida Pompano African Pompano Permit inside SPZ (see map below) Permit, all other Florida waters
Minimum Size Limit 11" fork length  24" fork length 22" fork length Not less than 11" or more than 22" fork length
Daily Bag Limit 6 per harvester per day 2 per harvester per day  1 per harvester per day 2 per harvester per day
Season  None  None Closed May 1 - July 31 None
Gear Hook and line, cast net and beach or haul seine

State waters:  Hook and line only.

Federal waters:  Hook and line and spearing

Remarks   Vessel limit: no more than 2  per vessel

May possess 1 over 22" included in the per person bag limit

Vessel limit:  no more than 2 over 22" per vessel

*The recreational regulations in the chart above apply in Florida state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic unless otherwise noted.


Special Permit Zone (SPZ)

(South of Cape Florida and Cape Sable)

Permit zone map

The Special Permit Zone includes state and federal waters south of Cape Florida in the Atlantic and south of Cape Sable in the Gulf.

State Waters Harvest Seasons

Habitat and Fishing Tips:

Florida pompano: Florida pompano are common in inshore and nearshore waters, especially along sandy beaches, along oyster banks, and over grassbeds. They are often in turbid water and may be found in water as deep as 130 feet. Florida pompano feed on mollusks and crustaceans, especially sand fleas. Local movements are influenced by the tide, and seasonal movements are influenced by temperature.

Permit: These coastal fish inhabit tropical grass and sand flats, near reefs and wrecks. Permit have a specialized plate at the back of their mouth that helps them crush hard-shelled animals such as clams and crabs. Anglers cast live crabs to schools of permit hoping to catch one of these line-stripping fish, which also take shrimp, clams and occasionally small fish. Permit are most common in south Florida. This member of the jack family can reach 40 inches and 50 pounds, but most are about 25-pounds.

State Record:

Florida Pompano: 8 lb 4 oz, caught near Port St. Joe

Permit: 56 lb 2 oz, caught near Ft. Lauderdale

Florida Rule

Management Efforts

In June 2011, the Commission amended the rule for permit, Florida pompano and African pompano in order to provide increased protection for these important species. In the past, there were no regulations for these fish in federal waters adjacent to Florida. The recreational rule amendments primarily establish recreational regulations in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.

These rules create separate management strategies for each species. The combined bag limit for Florida pompano and permit were split into separate bag limits and the size limits for each species were changed.

Pompano Endorsement Zone

The new rules also create two separate management areas in Florida for permit: the Special Permit Zone (SPZ) and Florida waters outside the SPZ (north of Cape Florida and Cape Sable). The Special Permit Zone (SPZ) lies in south Florida, encompassing waters south of Cape Florida on the Atlantic coast and south of Cape Sable on the Gulf coast. The regulations for permit in the SPZ are more restrictive to protect spawning aggregations of permit as well as large permit that support the trophy fishery in the Keys.


The Pompano Endorsement Zone (PEZ) pictured on the map above is a zone created that allows commercial fishermen who hold a pompano endorsement (PE) to use gill nets legally for pompano in federal waters off Florida.

For more information:

Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
According to the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 66.1 million people engage in wildlife observation, spending about $38.5 billion per year.

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