What Federal Regulations Apply to Saltwater Fishing?


Quick Answer

Federal regulations that apply to saltwater fishing include fishing for certain fish only during their specific seasons and only keeping fish that meet size specifications. Other regulations vary depending on the management council in the region but can also include the amount of fish taken in a single day, according to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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Full Answer

Federal regulations apply to saltwater fishing only in certain regions. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's federal laws only apply to three nautical miles off the Florida coast. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council applies its federal laws nine nautical miles off the coast. All management councils report directly to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association fisheries service, which controls and regulates all federal fishing laws, states the NOAA.

Federal regulations that apply to saltwater fishing also vary depending on the type of fishing. Commercial fishing has stricter laws and regulations compared to recreational fishing. Commercial fishing companies require certain licenses and must comply with boat and net regulations to legally fish. Commercial fishing companies must release fish under minimum lengths. They must also weigh all fish that meet minimum lengths and can only keep a specific amount of fish, depending on species and weight, explains the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

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