Florida Saltwater Conservation Programs

Florida is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World” because we have set more world record fish catches than any other state or country. Florida also has one of the top recreational and commercial fisheries in the country with an economic impact of $5.7 billion that supports more then 54,500 jobs. Conserving this states valuable natural resources is a top concern for all Florida anglers. Here are some of the programs the FWC has in place to enhance our states saltwater fishery.

Artificial Reefs
There are more than 2,400 artificial reefs constructed in state and adjacent federal waters. These have been built to enhance recreational fishing and diving and to increase structural habitat for reef fishes and invertebrates. They provide a socio-economic benefit to adjacent coastal communities.

Catch and Release
The FWC uses a combination of measures to protect fish stocks. These include bag limits; minimum and maximum sizes; closed seasons and areas; and in some cases, no harvest unless a special permit is purchased.

Coral Reefs
Coral reefs have been described as the rain forests of the sea. They create a home for 3,467 species of algae, plants, and animals. The FWC has established the long-term Coral Monitoring Project (CRMP) to monitor and protect our states valuable coral reef system. It is the most comprehensive coral assessment program ever established in the Florida Keys.

Fish Handeling Guidlines
It is important to release fish that cannot be harvested due to state or federal fishing regulations and in as good a condition as possible. Regulations such as reef fish rules help ensure that more fish will survive.

Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program
Improperly discarded monofilament fishing line causes devastating problems for marine life and the environment. The FWC has placed Monofilament Recycling tubes at many boat ramps and fishing piers.

Seagrasses
Seagrass restoration and conservation is a primary focus of the FWC. Research programs are in place that help resource managers make effective decisions about the preservation, management, and restoration of Florida’s seagrass beds.

Sport Fish Restoration
Every time you buy fishing gear, fuel for your boat or purchase a fishing license you are helping to improve your fishing experience. The Sport Fish Restoration Program is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). It collects money from excise taxes on fishing equipment, import duties on fishing equipment and boats, taxes on motorboat and small-engine fuels that create future fishing and boating opportunities in Florida.