(1) It is unlawful to take or harvest, or to attempt to take or harvest, any marine life in Florida waters with any net that is not consistent with the provisions of s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution.
(2)(a) Beginning July 1, 1998, it is also unlawful to take or harvest, or to attempt to take or harvest, any marine life in Florida waters with any net, as defined in subsection (3) and any attachments to such net, that combined are larger than 500 square feet and have not been expressly authorized for such use by rule of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The use of currently legal shrimp trawls and purse seines outside nearshore and inshore Florida waters shall continue to be legal until the commission implements rules regulating those types of gear.
(b) The use of gill or entangling nets of any size is prohibited, as such nets are defined in s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution. Any net constructed wholly or partially of monofilament or multistrand monofilament material, other than a hand thrown cast net, or a handheld landing or dip net, shall be considered to be an entangling net within the prohibition of s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution unless specifically authorized by rule of the commission. Multistrand monofilament material shall not be defined to include nets constructed of braided or twisted nylon, cotton, linen twine, or polypropylene twine.
(c) This subsection shall not be construed to apply to aquaculture activities licenses issued pursuant to s. 379.2523.
(3) As used in s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution and this subsection, the term “net” or “netting” must be broadly construed to include all manner or combination of mesh or webbing or any other solid or semisolid fabric or other material used to comprise a device that is used to take or harvest marine life.
(4) Upon the arrest of any person for violation of this subsection, the arresting officer shall seize the nets illegally used. Upon conviction of the offender, the arresting authority shall destroy the nets.
(5) Any person who violates this section shall be punished as provided in s. 379.407(3). (6) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is granted authority to adopt rules pursuant to s. 379.2401 implementing this section and the prohibitions and restrictions of s. 16, Art. X of the State Constitution.