Of the thousands of fish species found in Florida waters, the vast majority have no specific regulations at all. These “unregulated” species include some very popular sport fish that are commonly caught by recreational anglers such as white grunt, gulf kingfish (whiting), gafftopsail catfish, ladyfish, cero mackerel, blackfin tuna, bonito, great barracuda, gulf kingfish, pinfish and jack crevalle. The list also includes thousands of other species that are less frequently targeted but sometimes caught incidentally including spadefish, American eels, silver perch, croakers, hardhead catfish and many others. The term “unregulated” can be misleading because standard recreational gear requirements still apply, and there is a default bag limit established by Florida Statute for any species harvested by a recreational angler. Harvesting amounts that exceed the default recreational bag limit (which are defined as commercial quantities) and commercial sale of all unregulated species would require a saltwater products license.
Gear Requirements for Unregulated Species:
- Legal Gear: hook and line, spears, gigs, haul seines and cast nets (gear restrictions apply in certain locations)
- Illegal Gear: chemicals, explosives, electricity, bang sticks, fish traps, etc.
Default Bag Limit for Unregulated Species: Two fish or 100 pounds per person, per day -whichever is more. For smaller fish like white grunt, the limit is 100 pounds regardless of the number of fish it takes to reach that total weight. For larger fish such as the southern stingray, if you harvest two fish that have a combined weight of 150 pounds, that is your limit for that species. This bag limit does not apply to lionfish, which may be considered an unregulated species. Lionfish do not have a bag limit. Learn more about lionfish.
Seafood Safety and Preparation
Chapter 379.361(2)(i)(1), Florida Statutes
Image Credit:Diane Rome Peebles