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Thread: State of Florida Spearfishing Regulations

  1. #1
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    Exclamation State of Florida Spearfishing Regulations

    These rules ARE subject to change. Please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife website for the most current State of Florida regulations.

    Spearing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish by bowhunting, gigging, spearfishing, or any device used to capture a fish by piercing its body.” Spearing does not include the catching or taking of a fish by a hook with hook-and-line gear or by snagging (snatch hooking). Spearfishing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish through the instrumentality of a hand or mechanically propelled, single or multi-pronged spear or lance, barbed or barbless, operated by a person swimming at or below the surface of the water.” The use of powerheads, bangsticks, and rebreathers remains prohibited. The following is a list of species which are prohibited for harvest by spearing. Any other species not listed which are managed by the Commission, and those not managed by the Commission are allowed to be harvested by spearing.

    Billfish (all species)
    • Spotted eagle ray
    • Sturgeon
    • Manta ray
    • Sharks
    • Bonefish
    • Tarpon
    • Goliath grouper
    • Snook
    • Blue crab
    • Nassau grouper
    • Spotted seatrout
    • Red drum
    • Weakfish
    • Stone crab
    • Pompano
    • African pompano (OK in Federal waters; State waters extend 9 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico and 3 nautical miles into the Atlantic)
    • Permit (OK in Federal waters; State waters extend 9 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico and 3 nautical miles into the Atlantic)
    • Tripletail (OK in Federal waters; State waters extend 9 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico and 3 nautical miles into the Atlantic)
    • Lobster
    • Families of ornamental reef fish (surgeonfish, trumpetfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, porcupinefish, cornetfish, squirrelfish, trunkfish, damselfish, parrotfish, pipefish, seahorse, puffers, triggerfish except gray and ocean)

    You may NOT spearfish (excluding bowfishing and gigging):
    ■ Spearfishing of marine and freshwater species in freshwater is prohibited. Possession of a spear gun in or on freshwater is also prohibited.

    ■ Within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier, or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed.

    ■ Within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea—except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.

    ■ In Collier County and in Monroe County from Long Key north to the Dade County line.

    ■ For any fish for which spearing is expressly prohibited by law.

    ■ In any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks. (Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.) Fishermen who catch and/or sell fish harvested by spearing are subject to the same rules and limitations that other anglers in the state are required to follow.

    ■In Monroe County there are additional regulations for spearfishing. For more information call 305-289-2320 or visit www.floridakeys.noaa.gov.

    You may NOT spear, bowfish or gig:

    ■In Volusia County inland waters with the exception of flounder and sheepshead using a spear with three or fewer prongs.
    Last edited by NSEARCH; 12-11-2009 at 11:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Good info. Sticky it.

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    Bryan: You can also spear tripletail in Federal waters and land them in Florida according to my email correspondence with FWC Captain Rob Beaton.

    Can you convert my email to a file format that we can post here? I have it saved as a html file, but I can't upload that format here. Perhaps you know a way to convert it to a pdf?
    Last edited by kitefisherman; 12-11-2009 at 11:06 AM.
    Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.
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    Thanks for clarification on the tripletail John. I thought that was the case but didn't know for certain so left it out on the initial post hoping that someone would correct me, I have corrected it. Email me your html file and I'll get it uploaded here.

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    Attached is correspondance between John Herrera (kitefisherman) and the FWC which shows that those fish not managed by the Commission are allowed to be harvested by spearing in federal waters (permit, african pompano, tripletail). Having a copy of this correspondance on your vessel may be a good thing, even after the new permit (and possibly African Pompano) rules are accepted in March/February 2010.

    When you have speared permit, African Pompano, or tripletail in your possession having this document could prevent you a trip to court. This is also the document you want to show to your Columbia shirt wearing elitist inshore fishermen when they declare that it's against the law to spearfish for permit, African Pompano, or tripletail.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -herrera_fwc_spearing-regulations-pdf  

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    If you ask the FWC about the laws, just know that they may give(by accident) false information.

    Last week I asked a question about bowfishing in a certain freshwater area. The FWC correspondent wrote back that it is NOT allowed.
    I knew that was wrong, so I wrote back asking for the law that states that it is illegal.
    They wrote back saying ~~"Im sorry, I was reading the wrong(saltwater instead of freshwater) regulations. You are right."


    If you have an email from FWC(like discussed above) stating something is legal,(but its actually illegal) you can still go to court and be convicted of it. Its your job to know the law, no matter what the FWC says to you.
    An FWC officer, may let you go with a warning if you have an email from the FWC, or they may not.(Depends on the officers mood, I suppose)

    An FWC agent who gives false information may or may not lose their job. You will still (potentialy) get convicted.

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