Measuring Your Fish

By: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Staff (FWC)

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Measuring Your Fish

Saltwater | Freshwater

MEASURING A SALTWATER FISH

Most finfish size limit regulations of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) use either “fork length” or “total length.”   

These measurement methods provide a consistent, well-defined measurement technique. These methods encourage angler compliance with fishery management regulations.

Total length measurement

Total Length is now measured from the most forward point of the head, with the mouth closed, to the furthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed, while the fish is lying on its side.

Total length species include:

Snapper family

Tripletail

Grouper family

Red Drum

Sheepshead

Black Drum

Flounder

Snook

Several
ornamentals

Spotted Seatrout

Weakfish

Fork length measurement

Fish regulated by fork length are measured from the tip of the jaw or tip of the snout with closed mouth to the center of the fork in the tail.

 Fork length species include:

Amberjacks

Bluefish

Rudderfish

King Mackerel

Hog Fish

Spanish Mackerel

Dolphin

Permit

Cobia

Pompano

African Pompano

Lower jaw fork length measurement (Billfishes)

Fish regulated by lower jaw fork length are measured in a straight line from the anterior most part of the lower jaw (tip of the lower jaw) to the fork in the tail.

Fish Measurement Diagram

Lower jaw fork length species include:

Sailfish

Blue Marlin

White Marlin

Measuring Stone Crab and Spiny Lobster

Stone Crab measurement

Stone Crab claws must measure at least 2¾ inches in length measured by a straight line from the elbow to the tip of the lower immovable finger. The forearm (propodus) shall be deemed to be the largest section of the claw assembly that has both a moveable and immovable finger and is located farthest from the body of the crab.

Spiny Lobster measurement

Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3 inches and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.   


For more information please visit the Fish Length Measurement FAQs.

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