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Is it legal to gut legal sized fish while you are still out fishing in either Al, Fl or international waters? I am planning on gutting them this summer and using the guts for chum. Will they write me up for some off-the-wall law?

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In answer to your question. It is perfectly legal to gut your fish while out to sea. In fact it is recommended that you do just that because it retards spoiling of the fish. The digestive fluids leak into the meat as soon as the fish dies.
 

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Yes, you can gut them. Here is what the FWC says:

<TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD class=title></TD><TD class=title width="100%">Cleaning and cutting up fish.</TD></TR><TR><TD>/rnt/rnw/img/trnsp.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD class=subtitle></TD><TD class=subtitle>Question</TD></TR><TR><TD class=textcell></TD><TD id=desc class=textcell>What are the regulations regarding cleaning or cutting up regulated fish on the boat, fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty or beach? Can you gut and scale them? Can you use them for bait?</TD></TR><TR><TD>/rnt/rnw/img/trnsp.gif</TD></TR><TR><TD class=subtitle></TD><TD class=subtitle>Answer</TD></TR><TR><TD class=textcell></TD><TD id=soln class=textcell>

In Florida it is illegal to fillet or remove the head or tail fin of black bass, striped bass, white bass, Sunshine bass (striped bass x white bass hybrid), peacock bass, black crappie and panfish (where special black crappie or panfish size or bag limits are in effect) until after you have completed fishing for the day. View the Freshwater fishing rules at: http://myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Freshwater_FishRules_index.htm.

The regulated saltwater fish listed below must remain in a "whole condition" until the fish are landed ashore. In general, this means you must bring fish in with heads and tails intact. You can gut fish, scale them, and remove gills -- but you can not fillet them, cut off heads or tails until your fishing trip has ended (vessel has returned to the dock). When you are fishing from the beach, you can wait until you finish fishing, and are at least 100 yards from the shore before filleting and storing these fish. For some fish, the rules also apply until you have exited a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty.

These fish may be used as bait, but only while in a "whole condition". Remember that anyfish that is harvested andused for bait counts toward the daily bag limit.

These rules make it possible for officers to enforce size limits and fishing regulations.

The saltwater fish that must remain whole through landing are:

Billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish) 50CFR635.30(B) (federal regulations apply to the shoreline)
Black drum 68B-36.005(2)
Bluefish 68B-43.003(2)
Crawfish 68B-24.003(4)
Dolphin 68B-41.003(3) - commercial harvest only
Mullet 68B-39.003(2) - commercial harvest only (no recreational size limit)
Sharks 68B-44.004(4)
Snook 68B-21.005(2)
Swordfish 68B-33.004(5)
Wahoo 68B-41.003(3)
Weakfish 68B-47.002(3)

The following saltwater fish must also remain whole through landing and on a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty:

Cobia 68B-19.002(2)
Flounder 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Mackerel, King 68B-30.0025(2)
Mackerel, Spanish 68B-23.0035(2)
Permit 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, African 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, Florida 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Redfish 68B-22.006(4)
Reef Fish 68B-14.006(4) - includes snappers, groupers, sea bass, amberjacks, almaco jacks, banded rudderfish, gray triggerfish, hogfish, red porgy, and *golden tilefish
Seatrout, spotted 68B-37.003(3)
Sheepshead 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Tripletail 68B-49.002(1)(b)

*effective July 1, 2007

Tropical-ornamental species are required to be landed alive (Chapter 68B-42.0035- Marine Life, Florida Administrative Code).


The following species do not have any regulations in regards to keeping them in whole condition: Bonefish 68B-34; Shad & River Herring 68B-52; all unregulated species.
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

<SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 29px; FONT-SIZE: 24px">Cleaning and cutting up fish

<SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">Question
What are the regulations regarding cleaning or cutting up regulated fish on the boat, fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty or beach? <BR soft>Can you gut and scale them? Can you use them for bait?

Answer
In Florida it is illegal to fillet or remove the head or tail fin of black bass, striped bass, white bass, Sunshine bass (striped bass x white bass hybrid), peacock bass, black crappie and panfish (where special black crappie or panfish size or bag limits are in effect) until after you have completed fishing for the day. View the Freshwater fishing rules at: http://myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Freshwater_FishRules_index.htm.

The regulated saltwater fish listed below must remain in a "whole condition" until the fish are landed ashore. In general, this means you must bring fish in with heads and tails intact. You can gut fish, scale them, and remove gills -- but you can not fillet them, cut off heads or tails until your fishing trip has ended (vessel has returned to the dock). When you are fishing from the beach, you can wait until you finish fishing, and are at least 100 yards from the shore before filleting and storing these fish. For some fish, the rules also apply until you have exited a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty.

These fish may be used as bait, but only while in a "whole condition". Remember that any fish that is harvested and used for bait counts toward the daily bag limit.

These rules make it possible for officers to enforce size limits and fishing regulations.

The saltwater fish that must remain whole through landing are:

Billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish) 50CFR635.30(B) (federal regulations apply to the shoreline)
Black drum 68B-36.005(2)
Bluefish 68B-43.003(2)
Crawfish 68B-24.003(4)
Dolphin 68B-41.003(3) - commercial harvest only
Mullet 68B-39.003(2) - commercial harvest only (no recreational size limit)
Sharks 68B-44.004(4)
Snook 68B-21.005(2)
Swordfish 68B-33.004(5)
Wahoo 68B-41.003(3)
Weakfish 68B-47.002(3)

The following saltwater fish must also remain whole through landing and on a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty:

Cobia 68B-19.002(2)
Flounder 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Mackerel, King 68B-30.0025(2)
Mackerel, Spanish 68B-23.0035(2)
Permit 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, African 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, Florida 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Redfish 68B-22.006(4)
Reef Fish 68B-14.006(4) - includes snappers, groupers, sea bass, amberjacks, almaco jacks, banded rudderfish, gray triggerfish, <BR soft>hogfish, red porgy, and *golden tilefish
Seatrout, spotted 68B-37.003(3)
Sheepshead 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Tripletail 68B-49.002(1)(b)

*effective July 1, 2007

Tropical-ornamental species are required to be landed alive (Chapter 68B-42.0035- Marine Life, Florida Administrative Code).


The following species do not have any regulations in regards to keeping them in whole condition: Bonefish 68B-34; Shad & River <BR soft>Herring 68B-52; all unregulated species.

You can read the saltwater rules at: <SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">http://myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/SaltwaterRules_FAC68B.htm.

<SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">Here is the web site, has a lot of good information:

<SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">http://myfwc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/myfwc.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php?

<SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">

<SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px"><SPAN class=text><SPAN style="LINE-HEIGHT: 22px; FONT-SIZE: 18px">
 
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