2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXVIII NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 379 FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
(1) LICENSE ON PURSE SEINES.—There is levied, in addition to any other taxes thereon, an annual license tax of $25 upon each purse seine used in the waters of this state. This license fee shall be collected in the manner provided in this section.
(2) SALTWATER PRODUCTS LICENSE.—
(a) Every person, firm, or corporation that sells, offers for sale, barters, or exchanges for merchandise any saltwater products, or which harvests saltwater products with certain gear or equipment as specified by law, must have a valid saltwater products license, except that the holder of an aquaculture certificate under s. 597.004 is not required to purchase and possess a saltwater products license in order to possess, transport, or sell marine aquaculture products. Each saltwater products license allows the holder to engage in any of the activities for which the license is required. The license must be in the possession of the licenseholder or aboard the vessel and is subject to inspection at any time that harvesting activities for which a saltwater products license is required are being conducted.
(b) A restricted species endorsement on the saltwater products license is required to sell to a licensed wholesale dealer those species which the state, by law or rule, has designated as “restricted species.”
(c) At least one saltwater products license bearing a restricted species endorsement shall be aboard any vessel harvesting restricted species in excess of any bag limit or when fishing under a commercial quota or in commercial quantities, and such vessel shall have a commercial vessel registration. This subsection does not apply to any person, firm, or corporation licensed under s. 379.362(1)(a)1. or (b) for activities pursuant to such licenses.
(d) A saltwater products license may be issued in the name of an individual or a valid commercial vessel registration number. However, a firm or corporation may only receive a license issued to a valid commercial vessel registration number. A saltwater products license may not be transferred by the licenseholder to another individual, firm, or corporation. A decal shall be issued with each saltwater products license issued to a valid commercial vessel registration number. The saltwater products license decal shall be the same color as the vessel registration decal issued each year pursuant to s. 328.48(5) and shall indicate the period of time such license is valid. The saltwater products license decal shall be placed beside the vessel registration decal and, in the case of an undocumented vessel, shall be placed so that the vessel registration decal lies between the commercial vessel registration number and the saltwater products license decal. Any saltwater products license decal for a previous year shall be removed from a vessel operating on the waters of the state.
(e) The annual fee for a saltwater products license is:
1. For a license issued in the name of an individual which authorizes only that individual to engage in commercial fishing activities from the shore or a vessel: a resident must pay $50; a nonresident must pay $200; or an alien must pay $300.
2. For a license issued in the name of an individual which authorizes that named individual to engage in commercial fishing activities from the shore or a vessel and also authorizes each person who is fishing with the named individual aboard a vessel to engage in such activities: a resident must pay $150; a nonresident must pay $600; or an alien must pay $900.
3. For a license issued to a valid commercial vessel registration number which authorizes each person aboard such registered vessel to engage in commercial fishing activities: a resident, or a resident firm or corporation, must pay $100; a nonresident, or a nonresident firm or corporation, must pay $400; or an alien, or an alien firm or corporation, must pay $600. For purposes of this subparagraph, a resident firm or corporation means a firm or corporation formed under the laws of this state; a nonresident firm or corporation means a firm or corporation formed under the laws of any state other than Florida; and an alien firm or corporation means a firm or corporation organized under any laws other than laws of the United States, any United States territory or possession, or any state of the United States.
(f) Any person who sells saltwater products pursuant to a saltwater products license may sell only to a licensed wholesale dealer. A saltwater products license must be presented to the licensed wholesale dealer each time saltwater products are sold, and an imprint made thereof. The wholesale dealer shall keep records of each transaction in such detail as may be required by rule of the commission not in conflict with s. 379.362(6), and shall provide the holder of the saltwater products license with a copy of the record. It is unlawful for any licensed wholesale dealer to buy saltwater products from any unlicensed person under the provisions of this section, except that a licensed wholesale dealer may buy from another licensed wholesale dealer. It is unlawful for any licensed wholesale dealer to buy saltwater products designated as “restricted species” from any person, firm, or corporation not possessing a restricted species endorsement on his or her saltwater products license under the provisions of this section, except that a licensed wholesale dealer may buy from another licensed wholesale dealer. For purposes of this subsection, any saltwater products received by a wholesale dealer are presumed to have been purchased.
(g) The commission shall be the licensing agency, may contract with private persons or entities to implement aspects of the licensing program, and shall establish by rule a marine fisheries information system in conjunction with the licensing program to gather fisheries data.
(h) Any person who sells, offers for sale, barters, or exchanges for merchandise saltwater products must have a method of catch preservation which meets the requirements and standards of the seafood quality control code promulgated by the commission.
(i) A saltwater products license is required to harvest commercial quantities of saltwater products. Any vessel from which commercial quantities of saltwater products are harvested must have a commercial vessel registration. Commercial quantities of saltwater products shall be defined as:
1. With respect to those species for which no bag limit has been established, more than 100 pounds per person per day, provided that the harvesting of two fish or less per person per day shall not be considered commercial quantities regardless of aggregate weight; and
2. With respect to those species for which a bag limit has been established, more than the bag limit allowed by law or rule.
(j)1. In addition to the saltwater products license, a marine life fishing endorsement is required for the harvest of marine life species as defined by rule of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This endorsement may be issued only to a person who is at least 16 years of age or older or to a corporation holding a valid restricted species endorsement.
2.a. Effective July 1, 1998, and until July 1, 2002, a marine life endorsement may not be issued under this paragraph, except that those endorsements that are active during the 1997-1998 fiscal year may be renewed.
b. In 1998 persons or corporations holding a marine life endorsement that was active in the 1997-1998 fiscal year or an immediate family member of that person must request renewal of the marine life endorsement before December 31, 1998.
c. In subsequent years and until July 1, 2002, a marine life endorsement holder or member of his or her immediate family must request renewal of the marine life endorsement before September 30 of each year.
d. If a person or corporation holding an active marine life fishing endorsement or a member of that person’s immediate family does not request renewal of the endorsement before the applicable dates specified in this paragraph, the commission shall deactivate that marine life fishing endorsement.
e. In the event of the death or disability of a person holding an active marine life fishing endorsement, the endorsement may be transferred by the person to a member of his or her immediate family or may be renewed by any person so designated by the executor of the person’s estate.
f. Persons or corporations who hold saltwater product licenses with marine life fishing endorsements issued to their vessel registration numbers and who subsequently replace their existing vessels with new vessels may transfer the existing marine life fishing endorsement to the new boat registration numbers.
g. Persons or corporations who hold saltwater product licenses with marine life fishing endorsements issued to their name and who subsequently incorporate or unincorporate may transfer the existing marine life fishing endorsement to the new corporation or person.
3. The fee for a marine life fishery endorsement on a saltwater products license shall be $75. These license fees shall be collected and deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund and used for the purchase and installation of vessel mooring buoys at coral reef sites and for research related to marine fisheries.
(3) NET LICENSES.—Except for cast nets and bait seines which are 100 feet in length or less and which have a mesh that is 3/8 inch or less, all nets used to take finfish, including, but not limited to, gill nets, trammel nets, and beach seines, must be licensed or registered. Each net used to take finfish for commercial purposes, or by a nonresident, must be licensed under a saltwater products license issued pursuant to subsection (2) and must bear the number of such license.
(4) SPECIAL ACTIVITY LICENSES.—
(a) A special activity license is required for any person to use gear or equipment not authorized in this chapter or rule of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for harvesting saltwater species. In accordance with this chapter, s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution, and rules of the commission, the commission may issue special activity licenses for the use of nonconforming gear or equipment, including, but not limited to, trawls, seines and entangling nets, traps, and hook and line gear, to be used in harvesting saltwater species for scientific and governmental purposes, and, where allowable, for innovative fisheries. The commission may prescribe by rule application requirements and terms, conditions, and restrictions to be incorporated into each special activity license. This subsection does not apply to gear or equipment used by certified marine aquaculturists as provided for in s. 597.004 to harvest marine aquaculture products.
(b) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is authorized to issue special activity licenses, in accordance with this section, to permit the importation and possession of wild anadromous sturgeon. The commission is also authorized to issue special activity licenses, in accordance with this section, to permit the importation, possession, and aquaculture of native and nonnative anadromous sturgeon until best management practices are implemented for the cultivation of anadromous sturgeon pursuant to s. 597.004. The special activity license shall provide for specific management practices to protect native populations of saltwater species.
(c) The conditions and specific management practices established in this section shall be incorporated into permits and authorizations issued pursuant to chapter 253, chapter 403, or this chapter, when incorporating such provisions is in accordance with the aquaculture permit consolidation procedures. No separate issuance of a special activity license is required when conditions and specific management practices are incorporated into permits or authorizations under this paragraph. Implementation of this section to consolidate permitting actions does not constitute rules within the meaning of s. 120.52.
(d) The commission is authorized to issue special activity licenses in accordance with s. 379.2411 and this section; aquaculture permit consolidation procedures in s. 379.2523(2); and rules of the commission to permit the capture and possession of saltwater species protected by law and used as stock for artificial cultivation and propagation.
(e) The commission is authorized to adopt rules to govern the administration of special activities licenses as provided in this chapter and rules of the commission. Such rules may prescribe application requirements and terms, conditions, and restrictions for any such special activity license requested pursuant to this section.
(5) APALACHICOLA BAY OYSTER HARVESTING LICENSE.—
(a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
1. “Person” means an individual.
2. “Resident” means any person who has:
a. Continuously resided in this state for 6 months immediately preceding the making of his or her application for an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license; or
b. Established a domicile in this state and evidenced that domicile as provided in s. 222.17.
(b) A person may not harvest oysters from the Apalachicola Bay without a valid Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license issued by the City of Apalachicola. This requirement does not apply to anyone harvesting noncommercial quantities of oysters in accordance with commission rules, or to any person less than 18 years old.
(c) Any person wishing to obtain an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license shall submit an annual fee for the license during a 45-day period from May 17 to June 30 of each year preceding the license year for which the license is valid. Failure to pay the annual fee within the required time period shall result in a $500 late fee being imposed before issuance of the license.
(d) The City of Apalachicola shall collect an annual fee of $100 from state residents and $500 from nonresidents for the issuance of an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license. The license year shall begin on July 1 of each year and end on June 30 of the following year. The license shall be valid only for the licensee. Only bona fide residents of the state may obtain a resident license pursuant to this subsection.
(e) Each person who applies for an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license shall attend an educational seminar of not more than 16 hours’ length, developed and conducted jointly by the Department of Environmental Protection’s Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Apalachicola District Shellfish Environmental Assessment Laboratory. The seminar shall address, among other things, oyster biology, conservation of the Apalachicola Bay, sanitary care of oysters, small business management, and water safety. The seminar shall be offered five times per year, and each person attending shall receive a certificate of participation to present when obtaining an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license.
(f) Each person, while harvesting oysters in Apalachicola Bay, shall have in possession a valid Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license, or proof of having applied for a license within the required time period, and shall produce such license or proof of application upon request of any law enforcement officer.
(g) Each person who obtains an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license shall prominently display the license number upon any vessel the person owns which is used for the taking of oysters, in numbers which are at least 10 inches high and 1 inch wide, so that the permit number is readily identifiable from the air and water. Only one vessel displaying a given number may be used at any time. A licensee may harvest oysters from the vessel of another licensee.
(h) Any person holding an Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license shall receive credit for the license fee against the saltwater products license fee.
(i) The proceeds from Apalachicola Bay oyster harvesting license fees shall be deposited by the City of Apalachicola into a trust account and, less reasonable administrative costs, must be used or distributed by the City of Apalachicola for the following purposes in Apalachicola Bay:
1. An Apalachicola Bay oyster shell recycling program.
2. Shell planting to construct or rehabilitate oyster bars.
3. Education programs for licensed oyster harvesters on oyster biology, aquaculture, boating and water safety, sanitation, resource conservation, small business management, marketing, and other relevant subjects.
4. Research directed toward the enhancement of oyster production in the bay and the water management needs of the bay.
(j) Any person who violates any of the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (d)-(g) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in ss. 775.082 and 775.083. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the application of existing penalties.
(k) Any oyster harvesting license issued pursuant to this subsection must be in compliance with the rules of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regulating gear or equipment, harvest seasons, size and bag limits, and the taking of saltwater species.
(6) LICENSE YEAR.—The license year on all licenses relating to saltwater products dealers, seafood dealers, aliens, residents, and nonresidents, unless otherwise provided, shall begin on July 1 of each year and end on June 30 of the next succeeding year. All licenses shall be so dated. However, if the commission determines that it is in the best interest of the state to issue a license required under this chapter to an individual on the birthday of the applicant, the commission may establish by rule a procedure to do so. This section does not apply to licenses and permits when their use is confined to an open season.
(7) LICENSES SUBJECT TO INSPECTION; NONTRANSFERABLE; EXCEPTION.—Licenses of every kind and nature granted under the provisions of the fish and game laws of this state are at all times subject to inspection by the police officers of this state and the officers of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Such licenses are not transferable unless otherwise provided by law.
(8) COLLECTION OF LICENSES, FEES.—Unless otherwise provided by law, all license taxes or fees provided for in this part shall be collected by the commission or its duly authorized agents or deputies to be deposited by the Chief Financial Officer in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. The commission may by rule establish a reasonable processing fee for any free license or permit required under this part. The commission is authorized to accept payment by credit card for fees, fines, and civil penalties levied pursuant to this part.
(9) DENIAL OF LICENSE RENEWAL OR ISSUANCE.—The commission shall deny the renewal or issuance of any saltwater products license, wholesale dealer license, or retail dealer license to anyone that has unpaid fees, civil assessments, or fines owed to the commission.
History.—s. 2, ch. 28145, 1953; ss. 3, 4, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 59-499; s. 1, ch. 61-520; s. 2, ch. 61-119; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-399; s. 2, ch. 70-336; s. 281, ch. 71-136; s. 104, ch. 71-355; s. 2, ch. 78-56; s. 10, ch. 83-134; s. 34, ch. 85-81; s. 4, ch. 85-234; s. 2, ch. 86-219; s. 3, ch. 86-240; s. 2, ch. 87-116; s. 2, ch. 87-120; s. 17, ch. 89-175; ss. 1, 3, ch. 89-250; ss. 1, 2, 5, 6, ch. 90-310; ss. 17, 18, ch. 91-78; ss. 1, 4, ch. 91-254; s. 4, ch. 92-60; s. 11, ch. 93-223; s. 1, ch. 94-174; s. 209, ch. 94-356; s. 983, ch. 95-148; s. 12, ch. 96-247; s. 23, ch. 96-321; s. 37, ch. 97-160; s. 19, ch. 97-164; s. 1, ch. 98-200; s. 3, ch. 98-203; s. 10, ch. 98-333; s. 150, ch. 99-13; ss. 41, 97, ch. 99-245; s. 33, ch. 99-289; s. 2, ch. 99-390; s. 51, ch. 2000-158; s. 34, ch. 2000-362; ss. 9, 37, ch. 2000-364; s. 1, ch. 2001-272; s. 2, ch. 2002-264; s. 380, ch. 2003-261; s. 2, ch. 2005-158; s. 146, ch. 2008-247; s. 12, ch. 2010-185; s. 6, ch. 2013-194; s. 10, ch. 2014-150; s. 7, ch. 2015-161; s. 4, ch. 2018-84; s. 10, ch. 2020-144.
Note.—Former s. 370.06.