Huh ? Never heard of that one. No where does it say you have to have a federal fishing license to fish in federal waters, or a Fla fishing license to fish in other than state waters. Please show the me regs if I'm not right and I'll stand corrected.
I'm sure someone can clarify, but when you get stopped in the inlet try telling the man you don't need a license because you caught some dolphin 30 miles offshore and it's not state "territory". Like I said, I think state rules/regs apply when you bring the fish back into state waters. I could be wrong, but I heard this from a few people.
FWC has entered into a joint enforcement agreement with NOAA, which allows FWC officers to patrol federal waters and enforce federal regulations. In fact, NOAA paid for the boat in the picture, as well as several others, and funds their patrols as part of the agreement. In that area, they were patrolling the Oculina Bank, where there are strict regulations on bottom fishing and trawling. As far as the fishing license question: if you are leaving from, and returning to Florida, then you need a Florida fishing license while fishing in federal waters.
It is my understanding FWC officer is the most powerful law enforcement officer in the State, becuase they do not need probable cause to stop and search your vessel. Do they have that same power in International Waters? It comes down to the 4th Amendment of unreasonale search and seizures
FWC can stop a vessel anytime/anywhere on the water(Florida).....They cannot search a vessel without probably cause. However if you have fishing rods, bait, blood on the deck, ect.... in the boat, then that's enough proble cause to search / "Inspect" your catch if any. They cannot go onto your vessel without probably cause, unless you give them permission to do so. In this case, most seasoned officers know how to choose there words nicely! If in federal waters, and a violation has occured, then they will turn it over to the federal investigators for processing, however they can sight the violation first. Keep in mind this is just my take, based on knowing a few friendly FWC officers.
You are right about the license. I contacted the FWC and they said yeah, you gotta have one. Never heard of that before. I've always had one, just didn't think it was needed way offshore. One more BS regulation.