Lets say an individual is homeless. He has no source of income and simply wanders around with a small bag of personal items. Included in the items are a fishing pole and several fishing lures. He survives off a several mile walk to the ocean every morning to catch his food for the day.

  • Is he required to have a fishing license in order to fish?

  • If arrested for several unlicensed fishing violations, and these are dismissed every time by a judge, at any point can it be considered harassment by any official that arrests him afterwards? (May possibly be a question on its own).

  • It's nice if you can mention what research you put into trying to find the answer to your question. In about 10 seconds of Googling I found myfwc.com/license/recreational/do-i-need-a-license which lists the available exemptions to the fishing license requirement. Homelessness does not appear to be an exemption per se, but there are several others that might apply to low-income individuals. Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:37
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    Also, just as a general comment, your questions often have a lot of details that seem like they can't possibly be relevant to the legal issues at hand. (E.g. I don't think it can possibly matter how many miles the person walks.) I think these tend to distract from the real question, since one has to sort through them to get to the legal question. It would be nice if you can edit your questions down to focus on what is really relevant. Commented Nov 18, 2017 at 19:39
  • @NateEldredge The particular page you linked doesn't have an obvious exception to low income individuals. This is where the point of this question resides. You could provide the text where you see that and it may have been a sufficient answer. RE: the details of my question; In a court room, a judge will typically inquire about someone's personal situation. The detail is relevant in context as to what a judge might take into consideration on a case. Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 2:15
  • I was looking in particular about the exemption for those eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, etc, which is typically determined based on income as well as other factors. Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 3:34
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    So as to details, I think questions like "what would happen in this hypothetical case" are not answerable. We can't really predict what police / prosecutors / judges / juries would actually do in any particular case, and I don't see that as the point of this site. We can help you learn about what the law says and how it has been interpreted. So I'd say you can ask in general about fishing license requirements in Florida and whether there are exemptions that might apply to a homeless person, but I think it's beyond the scope of this site for us to predict the outcome of a hypothetical case. Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 3:37

1 Answer 1


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a page which explains who needs a license. Generally, a license is required for all saltwater and freshwater fishing, but there are various exemptions described on that page. There is no specific exemption for homelessness or low income per se, but it is possible that one of the other exemptions listed there might apply to your hypothetical individual, such as for instance the following:

  • You are a Florida resident age 65 or older possessing proof of age and residency (a valid Florida Driver License or Florida ID Card meets this requirement) or possessing an optional Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate. Residents age 65 or older may obtain, at no cost, complimentary hunting and fishing certificates from some county tax collectors' offices.
  • You have been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The agency must furnish proof to such clients. [Saltwater fishing only]
  • You are a resident who is saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who has been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be on your person when fishing. A license is required when fishing from a vessel or when swimming or diving.
  • You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county. However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.

If none of the exemptions applies, your individual could get a shoreline fishing license, which is free of charge to Florida residents. This license would appear to cover his activities (fishing for a saltwater species from land or from a structure fixed to the land).

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