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Fish caught

Florida fishing guide certification, on the web

Florida, the fishing capital of the world, has one of the most lucrative fishing industries in the United States. This industry provides jobs to thousands of people in the Sunshine State and contributes billions of dollars each year to the state’s economy. 

Fishing guides are a valuable part of the fishing industry, providing locals and tourists alike with authentic Florida fishing experiences and memories that last a lifetime. From the panhandle to the Florida KFFFG logoeys, our state has some of the most highly acclaimed fishing guides in the world! 

Fishing guides are role models that can teach ethical angling through their onboard behaviors.  To continue that path and make sure that fishing guides keep providing that excellent and unique experience, the University of Florida IFAS Extension and Florida Sea Grant have developed a voluntary certification program with the FWC and input from fishing guides called Florida Friendly Fishing Guides. The target audience  is flats guides, charter boat, and head-boat captains and crew. But this course can be taken by recreational fishers too. 

What would you learn? 

The Florida Sea Grant Florida Friendly Fishing Guide online course consists of eight lessons, and each lesson plan focuses on a different aspect of ethical angling. And there are modules on seafood safety, federal and state fisheries management, onboard waste management, and how to teach your customers about the environment.

Catching and taking fin clippings from snook fish off of Hernando Beach for UF/IFAS Sea Grant research with Becca Burton, Hernando County Extension agent Brittany Scharf, and Emma Pistole of the Nature Coast Biological Station on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

One environmental impact of fishing is what we call discard mortality — this is when a caught fish is released but does not survive. In this course, you will learn how to increase fish survival, including how to identify fish suffering barotrauma and how to select and use descending and venting tools to return fish safely back to the depths! Up to 60% of the fish caught are released, which is why it is so important to have proper fish handling skills. 

Since July 15, 2020, head-boats, charter boats, commercial, and recreational vessels fishing for reef fish in federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Florida have been required to carry descending devices. In the Florida Keys, descending devices are required on-board when fishing for fish in the snapper-grouper complex in the Atlantic from 3-miles offshore to the Dry Tortugas. 

For More Information

The Florida Friendly Fishing Guide certification recognizes fishing guides that are committed to preserving the future of Florida’s fisheries through sustainable boating and fishing techniques. Our local captains and mates are fishing ambassadors. They can demonstrate proper fish handling skills and best practices for ethical angling to their customers. This is a great opportunity for professional development and a benefit to listing your business on the Florida Sea Grant Florida Friendly Fishing Guide website.

The cost is $130 and the course takes about 4 hours to complete. Once you complete the course you receive a welcome package, a public listing on the Florida Sea Grant website, and an optional social media promotion. 

For more information and to register, go to his website: https://www.flseagrant.org/florida-friendly-fishing-guide-certification/ or contact your local Florida Sea Grant agent. Florida Friendly Fishing Guide is a statewide program for all saltwater fishing guides in Florida.

In Sarasota County, please contact Armando Ubeda at aubeda@ufl.edu.

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