Roundscale Spearfish
    *New* The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved management
    changes to roundscale spearfish in state waters at the May 2, 2012, Commission meeting.
    The recreational harvest of roundscale spearfish is currently prohibited in state waters.
    Management changes include allowing harvest of roundscale spearfish, adding the
    species to the one fish bag limit for marlin and sailfish, creating a 66 inch lower jaw to fork
    length minimum size limit and allowing possession exemptions for taxidermists,
    restaurants and wholesale dealers who mount or smoke these fish. View an FWC press
    release on the changes.

    Highly migratory species are

  • Atlantic tunas (bluefin, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, albacore);
  • sharks;
  • swordfish and billfish (sailfish, spearfish, and blue and white marlin).

    Federal waters extend from 3 to 200 miles on the Atlantic coast and from 9 to 200 miles on
    the Gulf coast of Florida. Below are the new regulations that affect Florida anglers.

    HMS Angling Permit
    Recreational anglers who target any HMS fish must purchase a federal permit. The permit
    is issued to the fishing vessel, so it will cover all anglers onboard. Anglers can apply for a
    permit online at  or by calling 888-872-8862.  This permit is not
    required for anglers fishing for billfish, swordfish or sharks in state waters.

    HMS Reporting
    Any HMS fish caught in federal waters (excluding sharks and non-bluefin tunas) that is
    landed (killed and brought to shore) must be reported to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours.  
    Call 800-894-5528 to report landings of swordfish and billfish, and 888-872-8862 to report
    bluefin tuna landings.

    In addition, new state regulations require persons landing billfish and swordfish caught in
    state waters to report to NOAA at the phone number above.

    Swordfish Bag and Size Limits for State Waters
    Anglers are limited to 1 swordfish per person with a vessel limit of 4 per recreational vessel
    per day in state waters.  Charter boats are limited to 6 swordfish per vessel and headboats
    are limited to 15 swordfish per vessel.  Captain and crew of for-hire vessels have a zero
    swordfish bag limit, but the individual daily bag limit of one swordfish per person per day
    still applies to customers aboard for-hire vessels.  Regardless of the length of the trip, no
    more than the daily limit may be possessed onboard a vessel.  This bag limit includes
    charter boats and head boats.  The minimum size limit for swordfish in state waters is 47
    inches lower jaw fork length or 29 inches cleithrum to keel length.  A swordfish that is
    damaged by shark bites may be retained only if the remainder of the carcass is at least 47
    inches lower jaw fork length or 29 inches cleithrum to keel length

    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
    620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
    32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
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Highly Migratory Species - Roundscale Spearfish
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New regulations

New regulations are in effect
for recreational anglers who
target highly migratory
species (HMS) in state
waters and in federal waters
of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico
and U.S. Caribbean.
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