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Rules and Regulations for Spearfishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Using a spear gun, or throwing any form of sharp object to spear fish, is a disaster waiting to happen; unless you are responsible and follow the Rules and Regulations for Spearing (as stipulated by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission). The sport of spearfishing is growing in popularity because of the primitive method it offers anglers. You need to swim underwater to get close to a fish without spooking it - if you are going to have any chance of catching it with a spear. So what are the rules and regulations regarding spearfishing in Florida?

  • You may not catch any freshwater fish with a spear. In fact, you are not allowed to possess any spear equipment near a body of fresh water.
  • It is prohibited to spear fish in any waters that are protected by Environmental Protection, Recreation and Parks. All spearing equipment must be safely stored away and remain unloaded at all times when in these areas.
  • Spearing fish is strictly illegal within 100yrds of any public place. This includes public beaches, commercial and recreational fishing piers or anywhere where public fishing and swimming is allowed; such as certain areas of bridges.
  • If any part of a jetty lies above sea level, you are banned from spearfishing within 100yrds of it. The only exception to this rule is if the jetty stretches over 1 500yrds from the shoreline. If this is the case, then you may spear fish near the last 500yrds of it.
  • You may not spear fish in Monroe County; from the north of Long Key all the way to the Dade County line.

When it comes to harvesting or selling fish that have been caught by spearing; anglers need to comply with the same rules that other anglers follow regarding bag limits, size limits, closed seasons and all Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations. In addition to this, there are specific species of fish that may not be hunted with a spear. Ever. If you are caught catching these fish with spears, be prepared for the consequences:

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Spearfish
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Sturgeon
  • Manta Ray
  • Sharks
  • Bonefish
  • Nassau Grouper
  • Goliath Grouper
  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Spotted Seatrout
  • Blue Crab
  • Stone Crab
  • Red Drum
  • Weakfish
  • African Pompano
  • Pompano
  • Lobster
  • Tripletail
  • Permit
  • Ornamental Reef Fish and their Families
    • Trumpetfish
    • Surgeonfish
    • Butterflyfish
    • Angelfish
    • Cornetfish
    • Porcupinefish
    • Trunkfish
    • Squirrelfish
    • Parrotfish
    • Damselfish
    • Seahorse
    • Pipefish
    • Puffers
    • Triggerfish (you may only catch Ocean Triggerfish and Gray Triggerfish)

Anglers who adhere to the rules and regulations set out by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission are not likely to ever spear anyone accidentally. They are the future of the sport and ensure it will be allowed in the future. Those that do not comply will ruin the sport for everybody else; do not be among them.

About the Author

Capt. Noah

Capt. Noah

Noah is a United States Coast Guard licensed captain and PADI divemaster. He grew up in South Florida and has a passion for all things involving water. He is one of the rare bread of boaters who loves sailing and power boating. Noah sails competitvely and enjoys travelling, photography, and cooking. 


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