Species

Recreational Regulations

Snappers Season Size Bag Limit Aggregate
Reef Fish

Red Snapper

Closed January through May, August through December

Federally permitted for-hire season: Open 12:01 am June 1Closes 12:01 am August 2. Private recreational season: Determined by each Gulf State

16″ TL 2 per person

Gray (Mangrove) Snapper

Open January through December 12″ TL None 10 snapper combined total

Mutton Snapper

Open January through December 18″ TL 5 per person

Yellowtail Snapper

Open January through December 12″ TL None

Cubera Snapper

Open January through December 12″ TL None

Queen Snapper

Open January through December None None

Blackfin Snapper

Open January through December None None

Wenchman Snapper

Open January through December None None

Silk Snapper

Open January through December None None

Vermilion Snapper*

Open January through December

*Subject to in-season closure if ACL is projected to be met

10″ TL 10 per person 20 reef fish combined total

LaneSnapper

Open January through December 8″ TL None
Groupers Season Size Bag Limit Aggregate

Gag Grouper*

Closed January through MayOpen June through December

*Subject to in-season closure if ACL is projected to be met

24″ TL 2 per person 4 grouper combined total

Red Grouper*

Open JanuaryClosed February through March when fishing beyond 20 fathom breakOpen April through December – *Subject to in-season closure if ACL is projected to be met 20″ TL 2 per person

Black Grouper

Open JanuaryClosed February through March when fishing beyond 20 fathom breakOpen April through December 24″ TL None

Yellowfin Grouper

Open JanuaryClosed February through March when fishing beyond 20 fathom breakOpen April through December 20″ TL None

Scamp Grouper*

Open JanuaryClosed February through March when fishing beyond 20 fathom breakOpen April through December

16″ TL None

Yellowmouth Grouper

Open JanuaryClosed February through March when fishing beyond 20 fathom breakOpen April through December None None

Yellowedge Grouper

Open January through December None None

Snowy Grouper

Open January through December None None

Speckled Hind Grouper

Open January through December

None 1 per vessel

Warsaw Grouper

Open January through December

None 1 per vessel

Goliath Grouper

CLOSED n/a Harvest Prohibited

Nassau Grouper

CLOSED n/a Harvest Prohibited
Other Reef Fish Season Size Bag Limit Aggregate

Golden Tilefish

Open January through December None None 20 reef fish combined total

Blueline Tilefish

Open January through December None None

Goldface Tilefish

Open January through December None None

Gray Triggerfish*

Closed January through FebruaryOpen March through May 10thClosed 12:01 am, local time, on May 11, 2019 through December 2019 – *Subject to in-season closure if ACL is projected to be met 15″ FL 1 per person

Hogfish

Open January through December 14″ FL 5 per person

Greater Amberjack*

Closed January through July (ACT was met August-October, 2018, therefore season did not reopen for May 2019) – Open August through OctoberClosed November through December – *Subject to in-season closure if ACL is projected to be met. 34″ FL 1 per person

Lesser Amberjack

Open January through December 14″-22″ FL None 5 fish combined total

Banded Rudderfish

Open January through December 14″-22″ FL None

Almaco Jack

Open January through December None None
Coastal Migratory Pelagics Season Size Bag Limit

Cobia (ling)

Open January through December

33″ FL*

*Increase to 36″ FL pending

2 per person

Spanish Mackerel

Open January through December 12″ FL 15 per person

King Mackerel

Open January through December

24″ FL 3 per person
Shellfish Season Size Bag Limit

Spiny Lobster

Closed April 1 through August 5 with a 2 day mini-season the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. 3″ minimum carapace 6 per person
Other Season Size Bag Limit

Red Drum

Closed None None

Species

Commercial

Snappers Quota Size Trip Limit
Reef Fish

Red Snapper

6,312,613 lbs GW 13″ TL Red Snapper is managed under an IQ program. Anyone fishing for red snapper must possess IFQ allocation and follow established protocols.

Gray (Mangrove) Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 2,420,000 lbs WW 12″ TL None

Mutton Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 139,392 lbs WW 18″ TL None

Yellowtail Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 901,125 lbs WW – Fishing year begins August 1st 12″ TL None

Cubera Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 5,065 lbs WW 12″ TL None

Vermilion Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 3,110,000 lbs WW 10″ TL None

Lane Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 301,000 lbs WW 8″ TL None

Queen Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 166,000 lbs WW None None

Blackfin Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 166,000 lbs WW None None

Wenchman Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 166,000 lbs WW None None

Silk Snapper

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 166,000 lbs WW None None
Groupers Quota Size Trip Limit

Gag Grouper

939,000 lbs GW 24″ TL Grouper are managed under an IFQ program. Anyone commercially fishing for grouper  must possess IFQ allocation and follow established protocols.

Red Grouper

3,000,000 lbs GW 18″ TL

Black Grouper

Shallow water grouper quota – 525,000 lbs GW 24″ TL

Yellowfin Grouper

Shallow water grouper quota – 525,000 lbs GW 20″ TL

Scamp Grouper*

Shallow water grouper quota – 525,000 lbs GW

*For the purposes of the IFQ, DWG allocation may be used to land and sell scamp once an IFQ account holder’s other SWG allocation has been landed and sold or transferred.

16″ TL

Yellowmouth Grouper

Shallow water grouper quota – 525,000 lbs GW None

Yellowedge Grouper

Deep water grouper quota – 1,024,000 lbs GW None

Snowy Grouper

Deep water grouper quota – 1,024,000 lbs GW None

Speckled Hind Grouper*

Deep water grouper quota – 1,024,000 lbs GW

*For purposes of the IFQ, these species are also included in the 525,000 lb GW SWG quota

None

Warsaw Grouper*

Deep water grouper quota – 1,024,000 lbs GW

*For purposes of the IFQ, these species are also included in the 525,000 lb GW SWG quota

None
Other Reef Fish Quota Size Trip Limit

Golden Tilefish

Overall tilefish quota – 582,000 lbs GW None Tilefish are managed under an IFQ program. Anyone commercially fishing for tilefish must possess IFQ allocation and follow established protocols.

Blueline Tilefish

Overall tilefish quota – 582,000 lbs GW None

Goldface Tilefish

Overall tilefish quota – 582,000 lbs GW None

Hogfish*

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 129,500 lbs WW

*Regulations specific to Gulf of Mexico hogfish management zone. Florida Keys hogfish managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (see Area Boundaries and Closures tab)

14″ FL None

Gray Triggerfish

60,900 lbs WW – Closed June 1 through July 31 14″ FL 16 fish

Greater Amberjack

349,766 lbs WW – Closed March-MayOpens June 1 (12:01 am, EST) and closes June 9 (12:01 am, EST) 36″ FL 1,500 lbs GW – 1,560 lbs WW

Lesser Amberjack

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 312,000 lbs WW 14″-22″ FL slot limit None

Banded Rudderfish

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 312,000 lbs WW 14″-22″ FL slot limit None

Almaco Jack

Combined commercial and recreational ACL of 312,000 lbs WW None None
Coastal Migratory Pelagics Quota Size Trip Limit

Cobia (ling)

None  

33″ FL*

*Increase to 36″ FL pending

Daily possession limit of 2 pp

Spanish Mackerel

Combined commercial and recreational quota: 11.3 MP – Fishing year begins April 1 12″ FL None

King Mackerel

Combined Gulf Group ACL: 2,740,000 lbs mixed weight (mixed weight is defined as the weight of the fish as they are landed in any condition, o.e., whole, gutted, or otherwise.

Southern Zone:
Gillnet
575,400 pounds mixed weight
Season opens at 6:00 a.m. the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday, including the first weekend after the opening, and remains open on weekdays until the quota is projected to be met, or until June 30.

Hook and Line
575,400 pounds mixed weight
Season opens July 1 and remains open until the quota is projected to be met, or until June 30.

Northern Zone:
493,200 pounds mixed weight
Opens October 1 and remains open until the quota is projected to be met, or until September 30.

Western Zone:
1,096,000 pounds mixed weight
Opens July 1 and remains open until the quota is projected to be met, or until June 30.

24″ FL – Maximum of 5% by weight may be undersized Southern Zone:
Gillnet
45,000 pounds mixed weightHook and Line
1,250 pounds mixed weightNorthern Zone:
1,250 pounds mixed weightWestern Zone:
3,000 pounds mixed weight
Shellfish Quota/Closed Season Size Trip Limit

Spiny Lobster

Closed April 1 through August 5 Carapace more than 3″ or tail more than 5 1/2″. Divers must measure in water.

250 per day/vessel for spiny lobsters harvested by bully net or diving*

*Harvesting by bully net in or from all federal waters off Florida. Harvesting by diving in or from federal waters only off Broward, Dade, Monroe, Collier, and Lee Counties, Florida

Shrimp

Royal red shrimp is exempt. Royal red annual catch limit-337,000 lbs tail weight. Royal red season opens January 1 and closes when the quota is reached or projected to be reached None, but white shrimp taken in the EEZ and transported to Louisiana must comply with minimum size limit of that state. None

Hogfish Boundary Map

Hogfish – the Gulf stock is defined as the waters north of the line extending west from Cape Sable, Florida (29° 09’ N). South of that demarcation is considered within the South Atlantic jurisdiction and is subject to South Atlantic regulations. Visit http://www.safmc.net/

Recreational Sector Shallow-water Grouper Closure (Map of the 20-fathom break)

Title 50 CFR: Wildlife and Fisheries – PART 622 FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC
Subpart B – Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico – §622.34 Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish

(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SWG). The recreational sector for SWG, in or from the Gulf EEZ, is closed each year from February 1 through March 31, in the portion of the Gulf EEZ seaward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the points in the following table. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ seaward of the following rhumb lines is zero.

Coordinates for the Shallow-water Grouper Closure (20-fathom break)

 

Commercial King Mackerel Zones

The use of gillnets is permitted only in the Gulf southern zone. The gillnet fishery for Gulf group king mackerel in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed each year from July 1 until 6:00 a.m. on the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. The gillnet fishery is also closed during all subsequent weekends and observed federal holidays, except for the first weekend following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which will remain open to the gillnet fishery proveded that a notification of closure has not been filed. Weekend closures are effective from 6:00 a.m. Saturday to 6:00 a.m. Monday. Holiday closures are effective from 6:00 a.m. on the observed federal holiday to 6:00 a.m. the following day.

Recreational Permit Requirements
Permit Required for:
Charter Vessel/headboat coastal pelagics permit  

Charter vessel and headboats fishing for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia. NOTE: Issuance of new permits is under a moratorium effective June 16, 2003.

 

Charter vessel/headboat reef fish permit  

Charter vessels and headboats fishing for snappers, groupers, amberjack, tilefish, hogfish, and gray triggerfish. NOTE: Issuance of new permits is under a moratorium effective June 16, 2003.

 

Highly migratory species (HMS) charter/headboat permit  

All charter or headboats that fish for or possess highly migratory species.

 

HMS recreational angling permit  

Owners of vessels used to fish recreationally for Atlantic HMS – Atlantic tunas (other than blackfin), billfish, sharks, and swordfish.

 

Recreational Anglers  

No federal permit or license required. Anglers are responsible for obtaining any state fishing license required.

 

Commercial Permit Requirements
 

Applications for permits may be obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue S., St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, or by calling 877-376-4877. Tuna, swordfish, and shark permits may be obtained by calling 888-872-8862 or 978-281-9260.

 

Permit Required for:
Spiny lobster federal vessel permit or Florida commercial harvester license and certificates  

Florida commercial harvester license and certificates required for harvest or possession in excess of the bag limits in the EEZ off Florida or to land or sell in Florida. Federal vessel permit required for harvest or possession in excess of the bag limits in the EEZ other than off Florida or sale other than Florida. May retain up to 50 spiny lobsters under the minimum size limit, and one per trap.

 

Spiny lobster tail separation permit  

Possession of a separated spiny lobster tail in or from the EEZ aboard a vessel. Also requires a spiny lobster federal vessel permit or Florida state license and certificates. Fishermen with tailing permits must land spiny lobster all whole or all tailed.

 

Shrimp  

Permit required for all vessels that intend to fish for shrimp in EEZ waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Permit moratorium in effect. Endorsement required for royal red shrimp. Shrimp trawlers must have a bycatch reduction device (BRD) and an approved turtle excluder device (TED) installed in each net that is rigged for fishing. State-licensed shrimpers may transit from state waters through federal waters to return to state waters and port without a federal permit when gear is appropriately stowed.

 

Mackerel vessel permit  

Harvest of king or Spanish mackerel under quota and in excess of the bag limits. Issuance of new king mackerel permits is under moratorium, but existing permits are transferable. There is no moratorium on Spanish mackerel permits, but these permits are not transferable.

 

King mackerel gillnet endorsement  

Harvest of king mackerel in the Florida west coast subzone using a gillnet. Also requires a mackerel vessel permit. Permit moratorium, area restrictions, and restrictions on permit transfer are in effect.

 

Reef Fish  

Permit required for vessels commercially harvesting reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. All reef fish permitted vessels landing federally managed reef-fish must land at approved locations and hail-in at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours before landing.

 

Aquacultured live rock permit  

Possession or harvest of cultivated live rock. Florida state permits are also required to land live rock in Florida. Wild live rock possession/harvest prohibited.

 

Allowable octocoral permit  

Octocorals (soft corals) were removed from the Coral and Coral Reefs Fishery Management Plan and are now managed by Florida FWC in state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. See Florida Fish Wildlife & Conservation Commission regulations.

 

Dealer permits  

A dealer to receive Gulf reef fish harvested from federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement is also required.

 

Measurement Guidelines

Fork length: the straight-line distance from the tip of the head (snout) to the rear center edge of the tail (caudal fin).

Total length: the straight-line distance from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail (caudal fin), excluding any caudal filament, while the fish is lying on its side. The mouth of the fish may be closed and/or the tail may be squeezed together to give the greatest overall measurement.

Carapace length: The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.

 

 

     

Federal Fishing Regulations are not always the same as state fishing regulations. For species that are not managed by federal regulations, states have the authority to extend state rules into federal waters for residents of that state or vessels landing a catch in that state.