New FWC Rules Require Tags on Passive Fishing Gear

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Passive fishing gear – things like trotlines, crab traps, bush hooks and other devices that catch fish in fresh water while the fisherman isn’t present – have to be tagged with the owner’s name and address under a new rule.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) adopted new rules in response to public requests for tighter management of passive gear to reduce the loss of fish and wildlife caught by lost or abandoned gear and to reduce navigation hazards for vessels. It will enable FWC officers to identify and remove lost and abandoned gear and illegally used gear.

The new tagging requirement applies to commercial and recreational trotlines, bush hooks, set lines, wire traps, slat baskets, hoop nets, minnow lift nets, eel traps/pots, blue crab pots, Carolina-pots and shotgun pots. It does not apply to hand-held gear, such as a rod and reel.

Also, the new rule does not include specifications for tagging passive gear, except to say the owner’s name and address must be legible. The new rule applies only in fresh water. Saltwater fishing is subject to other rules.

FWC officials said the new rule is particularly important during current drought conditions that have exposed numerous traps and baskets that have been lost or abandoned but are still catching and wasting fish and are a hazard to boaters.

FWC officers will be working with fishermen to increase awareness of the new rules and enlist help in protecting resources and promoting public safety.

For more information, visit or call the regional FWC office listed in the telephone directory.