View Full Version : Spearfishing Regulations
09-30-2002, 11:42 AM
The issue of spearfishing regulations comes up on forums quite a bit, so I spent some time on the phone today with the Florida Wildlife Commission. The guy there, Andy, was helpful. I explained that I needed the latest regulations that pertain to spearfishing, as I couldn't locate them on the FWC site (they maybe up there, I just couldn't find them).
Andy called me back after looking into the issue himself, and was nice enough to email me a couple of documents, which I am now providing to you.
Click here (http://www.npr-florida.com/CHAPTEr%2068Bspearfishing.doc) to download a MS Word document addressing spearfishing regulations.
Click here (http://www.npr-florida.com/saltwaterregs.pdf) for a .PDF document addressing all fishing regulations, as well as spearfishing issues. The spearfishing stuff starts at page 7 of this document.
The Florida legislation enabling the FWC to regulate is found here (http://www.npr-florida.com/spearfishingstatute.doc) , and I include this only because it also lists state areas where spearfishing is outlawed altogether.
I also asked if the FWC has exclusive jurisdiction, or if the individual counties had concurrent jurisidiction to regulate. He said counties could enact ordinances as to safety issues, but all conservation regulations come from the FWC (actually, in reading the statute myself, the FWC can also regulate in the area of safety).
Hope this helps.
09-30-2002, 09:23 PM
What about the rules outside of state waters? Do you have a link for that?
09-30-2002, 09:37 PM
I was starting to look into that, and was going to follow this up. I'll put some links up when I find it.
10-02-2002, 06:58 AM
First, I have to say that itís nice to have contact with a beurocratic extension of the government and get good service. My compliments to Andy over at FWC for following up with phone calls and emails in response to my questions.
Here is his email back to me regarding an inquiry on federal regulationsL:
The following link is to the federal code of regulations and pertains to fisheries of the South Atlantic (S. Carolina to Florida), Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_01/50cfr622_01.html). This link contains large files that may make take a while to download, so for your convenience I have also pasted the federal regulations pertaining to spearfishing. I recommend that you contact either the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (813-833-1844 toll free) or the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (843-571-4366)regarding federal regulations for spearfishing.
Sec. 622.31 Prohibited gear and methods.
In addition to the prohibited gear/methods specified in this
section, see Secs. 622.33, 622.34, and 622.35 for seasonal/area
prohibited gear/methods and
Sec. 622.41 for species specific authorized and unauthorized gear/ methods.
(a) Explosives. An explosive (except an explosive in a powerhead)
may not be used to fish in the Caribbean, Gulf, or South Atlantic EEZ. A
vessel fishing in the EEZ for a species governed in this part, or a
vessel for which a permit has been issued under Sec. 622.4, may not have
on board any dynamite or similar explosive substance.
(b) Chemicals and plants. A toxic chemical may not be used or
possessed in a coral area, and a chemical, plant, or plant-derived toxin
may not be used to harvest a Caribbean coral reef resource in the
(c) Fish traps. (1) A fish trap may not be used in the South
(2) A fish trap may not be used or possessed in the Gulf EEZ west of
85 deg.30' W. long. and, after February 7, 2007, may not be used or
possessed in the Gulf EEZ.
(3) A fish trap used other than where authorized in paragraph (c)
(1) or (2) of this section may be disposed of in any appropriate manner
by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer.
(d) Longlines for wreckfish. A bottom longline may not be used to
fish for wreckfish in the South Atlantic EEZ. A person aboard a vessel
that has a longline on board may not retain a wreckfish in or from the
South Atlantic EEZ. For the purposes of this paragraph, a vessel is
considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline
hauler, a cable of diameter suitable for use in the longline fishery
longer than 1.5 mi (2.4 km) on any reel, and gangions are on board.
Removal of any one of these three elements constitutes removal of a
(e) Poisons. (1) A poison, drug, or other chemical may not be used
to fish for Caribbean reef fish in the Caribbean EEZ.
(2) A poison may not be used to take Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ.
(3) A poison may not be used to fish for South Atlantic snapper- grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ.
(f) Power-assisted tools. A power-assisted tool may not be used in
the Caribbean EEZ to take a Caribbean coral reef resource or in the Gulf
or South Atlantic EEZ to take allowable octocoral, prohibited coral, or
(g) Powerheads. A powerhead may not be used in the Caribbean EEZ to
harvest Caribbean reef fish or in the EEZ off South Carolina to harvest
South Atlantic snapper-grouper. The possession of a mutilated Caribbean
reef fish in or from the Caribbean EEZ, or a mutilated South Atlantic
snapper-grouper in or from the EEZ off South Carolina, and a powerhead
is prima facie evidence that such fish was harvested by a powerhead.
(h) Rebreathers and spearfishing gear. In the South Atlantic EEZ, a
person using a rebreather may not harvest South Atlantic snapper-grouper
with spearfishing gear. The possession of such snapper-grouper while in
the water with a rebreather is prima facie evidence that such fish was
harvested with spearfishing gear while using a rebreather.
(i) Sea bass pots. A sea bass pot may not be used in the South
Atlantic EEZ south of 28 deg.35.1' N. lat. (due east of the NASA Vehicle
Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL). A sea bass pot deployed in the
EEZ south of 28 deg.35.1' N. lat. may be disposed of in any appropriate
manner by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer.
(j) Spears and hooks. A spear, hook, or similar device may not be
used in the Caribbean EEZ to harvest a Caribbean spiny lobster. The
possession of a speared, pierced, or punctured Caribbean spiny lobster
in or from the Caribbean EEZ is prima facie evidence of violation of
10-02-2002, 09:24 PM
Thanks for the info. I have looked at the Fl regs and at SAFMC to find the description of powerheading cobia in federal waters. I know I have seen that it was banned, but can't find it anywhere. I hunt in the Atlantic - any help?
10-02-2002, 10:31 PM
I know it is legal to powerhead and spear cobia in federal waters in the gulf of mexico. However, I heard they banned powerheads on cobia in the south atlantic. Don't know for sure. Call NMFS in Silver Springs Md. for comfirmation.
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