OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Marine Fisheries Management

What is the purpose of the program?

The purpose of the commission's Marine Fisheries Management Program is to facilitate the responsible and sustained use of Florida's marine life resources.

What services are provided by the program?

The program's services include
  • developing recommendations for managing commercial and recreational saltwater fisheries resources;
  • distribution of federal funds for declared fisheries disasters; 
  • providing educational services and outreach to recreational anglers and commercial fishermen;
  • serving as a liaison to federal agencies and fishery management councils on marine issues;
  • assisting in the development and monitoring of artificial reefs in Florida; and
  • trap retrieval, issuing Special Activities Licenses, and conducting audits on commercial fishery houses.

What types of licenses and permits are required for saltwater fishing?

Individuals 16 years of age and older and less than 65 years of age are required to obtain a recreational saltwater fishing license and any associated permits; exemptions may apply. Residents saltwater fishing from land or from a structure fixed to the land may either choose to obtain the license required above or obtain an annual resident shoreline fishing license. A commercial saltwater products license and associated endorsements are required for individuals harvesting saltwater products within state waters, when they intend to sell the products.

What is the status of Florida's marine fisheries?

Commission data indicate that 97% of Florida's marine fisheries stocks were increasing or stable in Fiscal Year 2018-19. The commission is focusing its efforts on data collection, allowing management of fishing efforts to be more effective and to help ensure more monitored fish stocks are stable or increasing.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Dollars Positions


Red Snapper. Florida was recently granted authority to set recreational red snapper seasons in both state and adjacent federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Florida will manage Gulf recreational red snapper harvest for the long-term, including data collection and quota monitoring. This season does not apply to commercial fishermen or for-hire/charter vessels with a valid federal Gulf of Mexico Charter/Headboat Permit for Reef Fish.

Stone Crab Management. Stone crab landings have fallen over the past several years. Commission staff are working with the stone crab industry and recently presented a draft rule proposal to increase the stone crab population and build long-term resiliency in the fishery.

Flounder Management. A stock status update suggests that the flounder fishery statewide has been in a general declining trend in recent years and is likely overfished and undergoing overfishing on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Commission staff are working on gathering public input on the flounder fishery and plans to present a draft rule proposal later this year.

Shark Fins. The 2020 Legislature enacted SB 680 prohibiting the import, export, and sale of shark fins in Florida with certain exceptions. The legislation requires the commission to evaluate the potential economic impact to the commercial shark fishing industry associated with the prohibition and report its findings and recommendations to Governor and Legislature by December 31, 2021.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

What are the applicable statutes?

Section 20.331 and Ch. 379, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Jessica McCawley, Director, Marine Fisheries Management, 850-487-0554, email:  jessica.mccawley@myfwc.com