The information  below is provided by:

Florida Fish and Wildlife  Conservation Commission

For Additional information go to



               Total Length Measurement

How to Measure Florida 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.

For more information please visit the Fish Length Measurement FAQs.
Watch a Public Service Announcement about Measuring Fish. (wmv 1MB)

Florida Total Length Measurement

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

Red Drum fish


Mutton Snapper fish


Yellowmouth Grouper


 Total Length Species Include:

 Snapper Family


 Grouper Family


 Red Drum


 Black Drum



Several ornamentals

 Spotted Seatrout

(Angelfish, etc.)



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Fork Length Measurement

Florida 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.

Spanish Mackerel fish




Gray Trigger Fish


 Fork Length Species Include:




King Mackerel


Spanish Mackerel





 Mullet African Pompano

 Gray Triggerfish










   Lower Jaw Fork Length Measurement


Florida 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.



 Lower Jaw Fork Length Species Include:


      Blue Marlin

      White Marlin







How to Measure Florida Stone Crab and Spiny Lobster

Florida Stone Crab Measurement

Stone Crab claws must measure at least 2 3/4-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.


Florida Spiny Lobster Measurement

Florida 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 and soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.


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