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As an angler, it's important to understand and abide by the fishing rules and regulations in the areas you fish. Key Largo, situated in the Florida Keys, is home to a rich variety of fish species and delicate marine ecosystems. In this blog, we'll explore the fishing rules and regulations in Key Largo, providing you with the knowledge to ensure a sustainable and responsible fishing experience.

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Fishing Licenses

Before casting your line in Key Largo's waters, make sure you have the appropriate fishing license. Non-residents of Florida are required to obtain a saltwater fishing license, which can be purchased online or from authorized vendors. Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older and children under 16 are exempt from the license requirement.

Bag and Size Limits

To protect fish populations and ensure their sustainability, Key Largo has specific bag and size limits for various species. Bag limits refer to the maximum number of fish an angler can keep per day, while size limits dictate the minimum and maximum size of fish that can be harvested. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with these limits and adhere to them to conserve fish stocks. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) provides detailed information on bag and size limits for different species.

Protected Species

Key Largo is home to several protected and endangered species, and it's essential to respect their conservation status. Examples of protected species include sawfish, Nassau grouper, goliath grouper, and several species of sea turtles. These species have strict regulations in place to safeguard their populations, and it's illegal to target, harm, or possess them. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the protected species and take necessary precautions to avoid accidental interactions.

Seasons and Closures

Certain fish species in Key Largo have specific seasons and closures to protect their breeding periods and ensure their survival. For example, the harvest of spiny lobster is regulated, and there is a designated lobster mini-season and regular season. Additionally, some species may have specific closed seasons to prevent overfishing during critical periods. Stay informed about the seasons and closures by checking the FWC's website or contacting local authorities.

Gear and Methods

Key Largo has regulations regarding fishing gear and methods to minimize environmental impact and protect sensitive habitats. For example, the use of certain types of nets, traps, or spearfishing equipment may be prohibited in certain areas. It's important to understand the allowed fishing gear and methods in the specific locations you plan to fish. Also, be aware of any special regulations regarding fishing from bridges, piers, or other public structures.

Marine Protected Areas

Key Largo is home to marine protected areas, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds, which are crucial for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health. These areas may have additional regulations to minimize damage and disturbance. Take care to anchor responsibly, avoid dropping or dragging anchors on sensitive habitats, and follow any additional guidelines provided by local authorities.

Fishing in Key Largo offers incredible opportunities to engage with the region's diverse marine life. By understanding and adhering to the fishing rules and regulations, you play a crucial role in preserving the ecosystem's integrity and ensuring sustainable fishing for future generations. Stay informed, obtain the necessary licenses, respect bag and size limits, protect endangered species, and follow any specific guidelines for gear and methods.

See our post everything to know about fishing in Key Largo for more information.