(1) ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF SEINES AND NETS.—No person may have in his or her custody or possession in any county of this state any fishing seine or net, the use of which for fishing purposes in such county is prohibited by law. Such possession shall be evidence of a violation of this subsection by both the owner thereof and the person using or possessing said net. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to shrimp nets, to pound nets or purse nets when used in taking menhaden fish, to seines used exclusively for taking herring, or to legal beach seines used in the open gulf or Atlantic Ocean if the possession of such nets is not prohibited in the county where found.
(2) STOP NETTING DEFINED; PROHIBITION.—
(a) It is unlawful for any person to obstruct any river, creek, canal, pass, bayou or other waterway in this state by placing or setting therein any screen, net, seine, rack, wire or other device, or to use, set, or place any net or seine or similar device of any kind, either singularly or in rotation or one behind another in any manner whatsoever so as to prevent the free passage of fish.
(b) It is unlawful for any person, while fishing or attempting to fish for shrimp or saltwater fish, to attach or otherwise secure a frame net, trawl net, trap net, or similar device to any state road bridge or associated structure situated over any saltwater body or to use more than one such net or device while fishing from such bridge or structure. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “frame net” is any net similar to a hoop net, the mouth of which is held open by a frame, with a trailing mesh net, of any size. Cast nets, dip nets, and similar devices are specifically excluded from the operation of this paragraph.
(3) USE OF PURSE SEINES, GILL NETS, POUND NETS, ETC.—No person may take food fish within or without the waters of this state with a purse seine, purse gill net, or other net using rings or other devices on the lead line thereof, through which a purse line is drawn, or pound net, or have any food fish so taken in his or her possession for sale or shipment. The provisions of this section shall not apply to shrimp nets or to pound nets or purse seines when used for the taking of tuna or menhaden fish only.
(4) RETURN OF FISH TO WATER.—All persons taking food fish from any of the waters of this state by use of seines, nets, or other fishing devices and not using any of such fish because of size or other reasons shall immediately release and return such fish alive to the water from which taken and no such fish may be placed or deposited on any bank, shore, beach or other place out of the water.
(5) SEINES, POCKET BUNTS.—In any counties where seines are not prohibited on the open gulf or Atlantic Ocean, such seines may have a pocket bunt on the middle of the seine of a mesh size less than that provided by law.
(6) USE OF POISONS, DRUGS, OR CHEMICALS.—Upon application on forms furnished by the commission, the commission may issue a license to use poisons, drugs, or other chemicals in the marine waters of this state for the purpose of capturing live marine species. The application and license shall specify the area in which collecting will be done; the drugs, chemicals, or poisons to be used; and the maximum amounts and concentrations at each sampling.
(7) PENALTIES.—A commercial harvester who violates this section shall be punished under s. 379.407. Any other person who violates this section commits a Level Two violation under s. 379.401.
History.—s. 2, ch. 28145, 1953; s. 1, ch. 57-765; s. 1, ch. 57-766; s. 1, ch. 59-477; s. 1, ch. 65-182; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-231; s. 283, ch. 71-136; s. 1, ch. 73-66; s. 1, ch. 76-101; s. 1, ch. 78-80; s. 1, ch. 78-159; s. 2, ch. 78-404; s. 2, ch. 79-263; s. 7, ch. 83-134; s. 2, ch. 84-121; s. 1, ch. 85-163; ss. 6, 17, ch. 85-234; s. 6, ch. 86-240; ss. 1, 12, ch. 89-98; s. 219, ch. 94-356; s. 988, ch. 95-148; s. 11, ch. 98-227; s. 242, ch. 99-245; s. 6, ch. 2006-304; s. 68, ch. 2008-247.
1Note.—Section 7, ch. 83-134, as amended by s. 2, ch. 84-121, and by s. 1, ch. 85-163, repealed the then-existing subsections (1)-(3) and (5)-(12), effective July 1, 1985, and further provided that if the Governor and Cabinet had not adopted appropriate rules by July 1, 1985, these subsections would remain in force until such rules were effective. Section 9, ch. 83-134, provided that, prior to the adoption of rules amending, readopting, or repealing those provisions set forth in s. 7, the Marine Fisheries Commission would hold a public hearing thereon, and no such amendment, readoption, or repeal would be acted upon until it had been determined, based upon appropriate findings of fact, that such action would not adversely affect the resource. The Marine Fisheries Commission was transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by s. 3, ch. 99-245.