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Old 27-10-2016, 07:13   #1
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Florida Fishing Regulations Question

I am looking for my first sailboat that can accommodate our family. We are an avid fishing and spearfishing family that spends a 2-4 weeks in the keys every year around Mini-Season and late summer.

My question is this, since it is against the law to clean and possess cleaned gamefish on a boat. What do you do with your catches? Even if you go back to a marina dock and clean them, it is technically illegal to put the filets in your dingy and back to your sailboat to take home later.

In most instances this would not be an issue due to being out for short weekend trips and everything can be kept on ice until we get back. BTW, we adhere to limits religiously, but enjoy taking lobster and fish back home to eat throughout the year.

Thank you!
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Old 27-10-2016, 07:47   #2
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

Fish somewhere besides Florida? 😆

I all but gave up keeping fish I caught when I lived in Florida because of the heavy regulations and stiff fines. Esp heavily regulated species like Snook. Blue Striped Grunt became one of my favorite fish because of almost no regulation...and not a bad pan fish either.
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Old 27-10-2016, 08:15   #3
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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Fish somewhere besides Florida? ��

I all but gave up keeping fish I caught when I lived in Florida because of the heavy regulations and stiff fines. Esp heavily regulated species like Snook. Blue Striped Grunt became one of my favorite fish because of almost no regulation...and not a bad pan fish either.
Yeah, tell me about it!! But that is where I live and where I am going to learn how to sail so I can go somewhere else in a few years, lol!!

BTW, Grunts fry up nice. I like Mangrove Snapper too!!
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Old 27-10-2016, 16:49   #4
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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Yeah, tell me about it!! But that is where I live and where I am going to learn how to sail so I can go somewhere else in a few years, lol!!

BTW, Grunts fry up nice. I like Mangrove Snapper too!!
Yes, used to catch them off my dock in Bradenton.

Where in FL are you?
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Old 27-10-2016, 17:15   #5
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

Eat what you want and throw all but 3 lbs per person on board away. It's a terrible waste but the regulators at the FWC worry about the majority of fishers, which are day trippers, not people living or staying on boats long term. These regulations are simply a reflection of the federal regulations regarding migratory fish. They recently passed some regulations allowing people to bring fillets back from the Bahamas, but did not change the rules for fish caught in Florida. Keep in mind that for liveaboards you are not even allowed to buy fish at a seafood market and have it on board.
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Old 27-10-2016, 17:37   #6
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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Yes, used to catch them off my dock in Bradenton.

Where in FL are you?
Winter Haven. I know the regulations have good intentions and just trying to protect one of our best best natural resources. There are so many dirtbags out there that would pilage and rape if they were not super strict, but you would think there would be allowable rules for liveaboards.
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Old 27-10-2016, 18:39   #7
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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. Keep in mind that for liveaboards you are not even allowed to buy fish at a seafood market and have it on board.
Seriously?
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Old 28-10-2016, 06:12   #8
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

I'm pretty sure there is a distinction about boats with galleys. Take a look into it.
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Old 28-10-2016, 06:24   #9
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

Preparation of fish (up to 1.5 pounds of fillet per person) for immediate consumption on board the vessel from which the fish were caught is not prohibited.

Legal-sized fish possessed for consumption at sea on the harvesting vessel are exempt from the requirement to have head and fins intact, provided:
(i) Such fish do not exceed any applicable bag limit;
(ii) Such fish do not exceed 1.5 lb (680 g) of fish parts per person aboard; and
(iii) The vessel is equipped to cook such fish on board.
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Old 28-10-2016, 06:44   #10
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

Thanks for the information! Since we spend a few weeks in the keys fishing and diving for lobster every year, we bring back a pretty good amount. We rent a house with another family so no issues bringing anything back home to eat over the next few months. It would be nice to be able to do it on a liveaboard boat.

We have a bunch of friends that will be down there at the same time, so keeping fish on ice and sending the meat back home or storage at a buddy's house will be inconvenient, but do-able
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:01   #11
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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Seriously?
No,buy whatever & cook it,no worries. If boarded & you have the carcass to show it is legal no problem. .buy it & save recite until it's gone,no problem. ..they want to know it's legal. ...simple. ..now if you have more than you or crew can eat well that's a problem because now they think you are comerical
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Old 28-10-2016, 09:50   #12
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

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No,buy whatever & cook it,no worries. If boarded & you have the carcass to show it is legal no problem. .buy it & save recite until it's gone,no problem. ..they want to know it's legal. ...simple. ..now if you have more than you or crew can eat well that's a problem because now they think you are comerical
The problem is the law makes no distinction between fish caught and fish purchased. Having either in your freezer puts you at risk of heavy fines up to confiscation of your vessel. As pointed out by Gordmay you can have 1.5 lbs per person for immediate consumption which means not frozen. Whether the FWC is going to bust you or not depends largely on the officer who is checking you out, but the letter of the law is that you can't have it on board. If in Florida you are safest to stick to fish not found in their waters like salmon. The problem is that neither the state or the feds gave any thought or consideration to people who liveaboard or cruise long term on their vessels. We probably never entered their minds. One small mahi or tuna can easily exceed the 1.5 lb/person filet limit for a two person cruising boat. I personally would rather freeze the extra filets rather than throw them overboard. It's a terrible waste to obey the law in this case.
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Old 28-10-2016, 10:46   #13
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

While the law is the law I have yet to hear of it being strictly enforced against live-a-boards. Cops have common sense too. I routinely freeze what I do not eat that night. If ever cited I would demand a jury trial. I doubt any prosecutor here in the Keys would pursue such a case.
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Old 16-11-2016, 08:20   #14
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

You'd have to meet a water cop having the worst day of his life to get hassled about a moderate amount of cleaned filets especially on a boat with a galley.
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Old 16-11-2016, 08:46   #15
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Re: Florida Fishing Regulations Question

An example for fish on board a boat returning from the Bahamas:

"Fish:

  • Reef fish (managed as snapper grouper in the U.S.) as well as dolphin and wahoo may be brought back from the Bahamas as fillets.
  • All other species must be brought back in the condition specified in U.S. federal rules (example: cobia, tuna, swordfish must be brought back in whole condition).
For fish brought back as fillets:
  • Skin must remain on the entire fillet
  • Two fillets, regardless of their size, count as one fish toward the bag limit
  • Follow U.S. Atlantic federal bag and vessel limits, as well as seasons
  • Fish brought into the U.S. cannot be sold
  • Travel through U.S. federal and Florida state waters must be continuous and gear must remain stowed. (Terminal gear such as hooks, leaders, sinkers, etc. must be disconnected and stowed separately from rod and reel.)"
If you have a leader still attached to the line you are in violation??? Really???

By the way, how far offshore do you have to be for you to fish without being subject to these regulations? Three miles? 12 miles? 200 miles????
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