Marine Life (Aquarium Species) Harvest Requirements in Florida

Licensing and Handling:

  • License Required: Recreational saltwater fishing license is necessary for the harvest of marine life for aquarium purposes.
  • Live Landing: Organisms must be landed and kept alive throughout the harvesting process.
  • Live Well System: A continuously circulating live well, aeration, or oxygenation system adequate to maintain organisms in a healthy condition is required.

Gear and Bag Limits:

  • Allowable Gear: Hand-held net, drop net, rod, barrier net, slurp gun. The use of quinaldine is prohibited. Some species may have additional gear limitations.
  • Bag Limit: Maximum of 20 organisms per person per day, with only 5 of any one species allowed within the 20-organism limit.
  • Possession Limit: 2-day possession limit applies, totaling 40 organisms, with no more than 10 of any one species.

Substrate and Closed Areas:

  • Allowable Substrate: Certain species may have specific substrate requirements for harvest. Refer to the detailed species specifications table.
  • Closed Areas: Be aware of closed areas such as Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and Florida’s State Parks. Always check current regulations before collecting in these areas.

Additional Regulations:

  • Prohibition on Sale: Sale of recreationally caught marine life organisms is strictly prohibited.
  • Federal Waters: Regulations are also applicable in federal waters adjacent to Florida.
  • Lee or Manatee Counties: Additional rules apply to the collection of shells containing live organisms.

It is imperative for recreational harvesters to adhere to these requirements to ensure the sustainability and health of marine life populations. Prior to any harvest, consult the latest regulations at MyFWC.com or the appropriate local authority for the most accurate and up-to-date information, particularly for area-specific restrictions and species-specific gear limitations.

Regulations

Fish Species

Species Remarks Size Limits
Angelfish No more than 5 per person per day in any combination Gray, French Angelfish: 1½–8" slot limit<br>Blue, Queen Angelfish: 1¾–8" slot limit<br>Rock Beauty: 2–5" slot limit
Butterflyfish 1–4" slot limit
Filefish/Triggerfish Except Unicorn Filefish, Gray Triggerfish and Ocean Triggerfish
Gobies Maximum size limit: 2"
Hamlets/Seabasses Except reef fish and Longtail Bass
Jawfish Maximum size limit: 4"
Parrotfish Maximum size limit: 12"
Porkfish Minimum size limit: 1½"
Pufferfish, Burrfish, Balloonfish, Porcupinefish Includes Sharpnose Pufferfish, Striped Burrfish, Spotted Burrfish, Balloonfish, Porcupinefish
Tangs and Surgeonfish Maximum size limit (fork length): 9"
Wrasse/Hogfish/Razorfish Except Hogfish Snapper Spanish Hogfish: 2–8" slot limit<br>Cuban Hogfish: 3–8" slot limit

Other Marine Life Fish

Basslets, Batfish, Blackbar Soldierfish, Blennies, Brotulas (Black and Key), Cardinalfish, Clingfish, Cornetfish, Damselfish, Eels (Moray and Snake), Frogfish, Hawkfish, High-hat/Jackknife-fish/Spotted Drum/Cubbyu, Pipefish, Reef Croakers, Seahorses, Sleepers, Yellow Stingray, Sweepers, Toadfish, Trumpetfish and Trunkfish/Cowfish.

Invertebrates

Species Remarks Limits
Anemones Corallimorphs and Zoanthids: 5 polyps each per day; must be harvested with a flexible blade no wider than 2". Zero bag limit on Giant Anemone (Condylactis gigantea).
Conch, Queen Harvest prohibited
Corals Hard, stony, fire & black corals Harvest prohibited
Octocorals Maximum 6 colonies per person per day in any combination; harvest of attached substrate within 1" of base is permitted; harvest closes when quota met.
Crab, Hermit Except Land Hermit Crabs
Crab, Horseshoe Harvest prohibited
Live Rock Harvest prohibited
Octopods Except Common Octopus
Sea Fans Harvest of Venus Sea Fan and Common (Purple) Sea Fan prohibited
Siphonophores/Hydroids Harvest of Fire Coral prohibited
Sponges Except Sheepswool, Yellow, Grass, Glove, Finger, Wire, Reef, and Velvet Sponges; 5 sponges per harvester per day; harvest of substrate within 1" of base permitted north and west of the southernmost point of Egmont Key; no substrate allowed south of Egmont Key
Starfish Harvest of Bahama Starfish (Cushion Sea Star) prohibited
Urchins Except Sand Dollars & Sea Biscuits; harvest of Longspine Urchin prohibited

Other Marine Life Invertebrates

Brittlestars, Decorator (Furcate Spider) Crab, False Arrow Crab, Green Clinging (Emerald) Crab, Nimble Spray (Urchin) Crab, Red Mithrax Crab, Red-Ridged Clinging Crab, Spotted Porcelain Crab, Yellowline Arrow Crab, Fileclams, Upside-down Jellyfish, Nudibranchs/Sea Slugs, Sea Cucumbers, Sea Lilies, Cleaner/Peppermint Shrimp, Coral Shrimp, Snapping Shrimp, Nassarius Snails, Starsnails, Featherduster Worms, and Calcareous Tube Worms.

Marine Life Plants

Species Limits
Algae, Coralline Red One gallon of tropical ornamental marine plants per day in any combination; 2-gallon maximum possession limit
Caulerpa
Halimeda/Mermaid's Fan/
Mermaid's Shaving Brush

These regulations are in place to protect marine life and ensure sustainable harvesting practices.

Notes:

1–Unless otherwise noted, combined bag limit of 20 marine life fish and invertebrates per person per day, only 5 of any one species allowed. A 2-day possession limit also applies (40 total organisms, only 10 of any one species).

2–Such as groupers, snappers, seabass and amberjacks. Must abide by regulations for these species.

3–Bag limit of 2 live shell fish of any single species per harvester per day in Manatee County. Harvest prohibited in Lee County.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.