Bonefish Tournament Exemption Permits
As of July 1, 2011, a tournament exemption permit is required for bonefish tournament
anglers to temporarily possess and transport bonefish to a weigh station for tournament
purposes. To be eligible for a bonefish tournament exemption permit, tournaments must
involve 10 or more participants, have written rules and regulations, require an entry fee and
award prizes to competitors.
A Bonefish Catch, Hold and Release Tournament Exemption Permit may only be issued to
the director of a catch-and-release fishing tournament that agrees to the following permit
1.Tournament anglers and tournament staff must release all bonefish free, alive, and
unharmed, including those fish that are weighed-in.
2.Bonefish may be transported to shore only to be weighed, measured, and recorded at a
3.No tournament angler shall possess more than one bonefish at any one time and no
more than two bonefish may be possessed aboard a vessel at any one time.
4.All vessels used in the tournament must contain recirculating or aerated live wells that
are at least 2.67 cubic feet or 20 gallons in capacity. Any bonefish that are possessed or
transported in association with tournament related activities must be transported in such a
5.Organized tournament staff shall maintain at least one recirculating or aerated recovery
tank at each certified scale and tournament check-in location. Tournament staff may hold
up to one bonefish per 10 gallons of seawater in a recirculating or aerated recovery tank
prior to release. Bonefish must be released by official sunset each day of the tournament,
as established and published by the U.S. Weather Service, and may not be possessed
longer than 16 hours. Recovery holding tank requirements will be specified in the
tournament exemption permit by the FWC in a manner to ensure increased survival of
6.The tournament must provide the FWC in the tournament exemption permit application
with a description of the recirculating or aerated recovery holding tank(s) used to maintain
bonefish alive after weigh-in.
7.Dead bonefish possessed by a tournament angler may not be discarded. Tournament
anglers shall report and surrender any bonefish that die after capture or during transport to
tournament staff. The disposition of dead bonefish may be specified in the tournament
exemption permit at the FWC's discretion.
8.The organized tournament must suggest to the FWC in the tournament exemption permit
application a location where tournament-caught bonefish will be released after they are
weighed-in. In order to increase survival of released bonefish, release locations shall be
approved or specified in the tournament exemption permit.
9.The tournament must allow FWC staff the opportunity to collect research data and
conduct research and monitoring during the tournament.
10.The tournament must submit a post-tournament report to the FWC indicating the
number of fish weighed-in each day of the tournament, the number of fish weighed-in dead
each day, and the number of fish that died after being weighed-in, but prior to release each
day. The FWC may specify additional tournament reporting requirements as a condition of
the tournament exemption permit.
11.Permits are subject to the provisions of Rule 68A-5.004, F.A.C., such as denial of future
tournament exemption permits.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission • Farris Bryant Building
620 S. Meridian St. • Tallahassee, FL
32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676
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Bonefish Catch, Hold, and Release Tournament Exemption Permit